Western Canada’s largest seafood celebration is back for its 13th instalment and this year is poised to be bigger than ever. From June 14th to 16th, Canada's primary hub for oyster production, Comox Valley, will be host to more competitions and seafood experiences at the BC Seafood Festival Signature Weekend than ever before.
This year’s celebration features a weekend packed to the brim with seafood-related events, including the BC Seafood Festival Chef Challenge (June 15-16), the Fanny Bay Oyster Shucking Competition (June 15), the Ocean Wise Chowder Challenge (June 16), the first-ever Junior Chef Challenge (June 16), and much more.
As always, the Seafood Festival will showcase a powerhouse catalogue of celebrity chefs, mixologists, judges, and world-class oyster shuckers. The headlining FortisBC Chef Challenge features a lineup of 12 chefs who will compete head-to-head in exhilarating seafood-themed black-box heats for a cash prize of $5,000, as well as the coveted title of Chef Challenge Champion. Heading the judges table for the event are chef Quang Dang of Vancouver’s Top Table Group, chef Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, and the multi-talented Top Chef Canada resident judge, Mijune Pak.
“We are incredibly excited about the chef lineup and seafood events featured at this year’s BC Seafood Festival,” says Nathan Fong, executive chef producer for BC Seafood Festival 2019. “The festival competitions have grown in popularity and prizes, and this year more chefs than ever are interested in competing. We are anticipating fast-paced competition in the Chef Challenge once again, and we are excited about the new Junior Chef Competition featuring cooks from ages eight to12 years old.”
Guinness Book of World Record holder, Patrick McMurray (aka Shucker Paddy) will also be returning to emcee the ever-popular Fanny Bay Oyster Shucking Competition. This year’s champion will receive $2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the PEI Shellfish Festival Raspberry Point Shucking Championship at Canada’s largest seafood event, the PEI International Shellfish Festival.
In addition to the seafood competitions and tastings, this year’s festival includes the Kids Interactive Zone, where kids can learn about the benefits of seafood, how it’s sourced and cooked, as well as interactive tours and cooking classes. Inquisitive adults will also get a chance to learn on the fly with this year’s Ceviche MasterClass, featuring chef Fong along with Shelome Bouvette and Kumiko Umeno of Vancouver’s Chicha Restaurant.