Local Food Pairs With Conscious Carhop at Drive-in Dining Event

Toyota BC and Ocean Wise come together to serve up delicious, ethically sourced food at Dîner en Hybrid


Toyota BC and Ocean Wise come together to serve up delicious, ethically sourced food at Dîner en Hybrid

What would the perfect environmentally conscious meal look like? The food would surely be local, and made from responsibly harvested, natural ingredients. The setting would have to be just right as well—but where do you dine knowing that you’re eating only sustainable food options?

On August 12, an answer was provided in the form of Dîner en Hybrid: a one-night sustainable culinary experience held at the footsteps of the Vancouver Aquarium and hosted by Toyota BC. At the event, a dozen lucky couples were treated to a gourmet meal prepared by Ned Bell, executive chef of the Ocean Wise responsible seafood program (and the owner of a RAV4 Hybrid himself).

The sustainable dishes were served carhop-style in the comfort of a fleet of Toyota hybrids. Toyota prides itself on being environmentally consciousboth in their vehicles and their company philosophyand aims to spread this sustainable attitude to the public with the help of events like Dîner en Hybrid.

Creating a better future on land and in the sea

To most people, eating in a car conjures up images of hurriedly chomping down a fast-food breakfast or burger in the driver’s seat. The only purpose of the car is to get the diner from the restaurant to their next destination.

At Dîner en Hybrid, however, the vehicles played a starring role. Toyota’s Hybrid line of cars—which are powered by a combination of petroleum and electricity—have become synonymous with advancements in green driving. Their newest pair of hybrids, the 2018 Prius Prime and Prius c, use almost 50 percent less fuel than non-hybrids, with an estimated fuel economy rating of 1.8 L/100 km and 5.1 L/100 km, respectively. The Prius Prime’s plug-in hybrid technology even lets you commute up to 40km, strictly on electric power.

Beyond creating more fuel efficient vehicles, the company is also dedicated to reducing the amount of water and energy they consume when building their cars, making them the perfect host for an evening devoted to sustainable choices.

The eating and driving habits of humans take a toll on the environment—and it’s for this reason that Toyota BC and Ocean Wise teamed up to put together this event. By choosing sustainable seafood and hybrid vehicles over less Earth-friendly options, we can take steps towards creating a better future.

A sustainable (and scrumptious) menu

Globally inspired, locally sourced and entirely Ocean Wise–approved, Dîner en Hybrid was the quintessential B.C. dinner in both substance and spirit. The evening began with a round of canapés, including albacore tuna tacos with buttermilk dressing, citrus, radishes, avocado and black tiger shrimp with a honey-truffle glaze.

Though those appetizers may seem like a tough act to follow, the first course was certainly no slouch, either. Chilled cucumber, mint and honeydew melon soup was accompanied by a Pacific scallop ceviche flavoured with jalapeño and lime. And to cap off the savoury portion of the meal, the third course was made up of grilled wild B.C. salmon on a bed of corn, sunflower seeds, sprouts and golden potatoes.

Dessert brought the guests into the aquarium itself for a parfait of citrus cream and B.C. blueberries. While sampling this sweet treat, they could also snag a signed copy of Ned Bell’s 2017 cookbook, Lure: Healthy, Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast.

Ocean Wise, forward-thinking 

Many British Columbians will be most familiar with Ocean Wise as the little whale-shaped logo that appears on restaurant menus and seafood packages to indicate that the fish products were obtained responsibly. The logo’s resemblance to the famous Bill Reid orca sculpture outside the Vancouver Aquarium is no coincidence; Ocean Wise opened simultaneously alongside the facility in 1956 and remains headquartered there to this day.

Ocean Wise carries out a number of initiatives, including marine mammal rescue, shoreline cleanup, community education and of course, food. Launched in 2005, the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program now includes over 650 partner restaurants, shops, brands and producers across Canada. And in 2016, they named Ned Bell as their first ever “Executive Chef

Partnership on public events have come to play a tremendous role in Ocean Wise’s advocacy work, of which Dîner en Hybrid is but the latest. The Vancouver Aquarium remains one of the city’s largest, most beloved public venues, and an ideal spot for high-profile events that use a creative mix of entertainment and eco-consciousness to make an impact.

Toyota and Ocean Wise are both companies that support sustainability, whether that’s on the road or on a plate. And if Dîner en Hybrid has taught us anything, it’s that adopting an eco-conscious lifestyle doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a trendy night out.