Vancouver Chef Ned Bell Rides Across Canada for Sustainable Seafood

The Yew Restaurant chef travel over 8,700 km on his bicycle in support of Chefs for Oceans

The Yew Restaurant chef finishes bike ride across the country in support of sustainable seafood

Vancouver Chef Ned Bell is well known for the cutting-edge culinary creations he serves up at the Four Seasons’ Yew Restaurant.

In addition to being a celebrated chef, he’s also one of Canada’s most outspoken ambassadors for sustainable seafood. And he’s not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk.

Since July, Chef Bell has been riding his bike across Canada to raise awareness for sustainable seafood. His journey, called Chefs for Oceans, will take him through all 10 provinces, covering a total distance of over 8,700 kilometres.

Although his ride across Canada puts him in the public eye, his endeavour goes far beyond one person, Chef Bell says.

Chef Bell is hoping to create a movement that will allow every Canadian access to sustainable seafood by 2025, and to rally support to create a National Sustainable Seafood Day every March 18.

Until September 12, he is also raising money for the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, SeaChoice and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

“As a chef my career experience is largely behind the burners and in front of guests, so the learning curve on a journey and a goal like this one is steep,” he says.

A “Monster Project” to Create Change

Lana Gunnlaugson, National SeaChoice Manager and part of the Chefs for Oceans team, remembers when Chef Bell shared his “crazy idea” with her for the first time.

“I was very hesitant at first. What convinced me was that I knew Ned was determined enough to make Chefs for Oceans a reality. And I am also slightly addicted to monster projects that have the ability to create change.”

Yew Restaurant chef Ned Bell will have traveled over 8,700 km for the Chefs for Oceans initiative

Since then, Chef Bell has been riding 140 to 200km each day — mingling with local chefs, fishermen, and oyster farmers at stops along the way.

His epic bike ride has not been without its challenges. His campaign bus got lost in Montreal at the beginning of his journey, and he had to ride his bike during a tropical storm with winds reaching up to 70 kilometres.

Chef Bell, however, doesn’t want to dwell on the difficulties when there is so much to celebrate and enjoy. “The journey itself is the highlight. Every place I have visited has been so special,” Bell says.

Preserving the Oceans for Future Generations

Being able to inspire and educate Canadians all across the country through his bike ride is vitally important to his mission, Chef Bell says.

By choosing local, sustainably sourced fish and seafood, Canadians have the power to fight one of society’s greatest threats to long-term food security: overfishing.

“Two billion people rely on the ocean for their daily source of protein. As we look ahead to 2015, when there are going to be 9 billion people, how are we going to feed all of those people?”

Want to support Chef Bell in his fundraising efforts?

  • Give to Chefs for Oceans
  • Text SALMON to 45678 to make a $10 donation from a mobile phone
  • Attend the Chefs for Oceans wrap-up event in Vancouver on September 12 (net proceeds support the Chefs for Oceans journey and its beneficiaries)
  • Buy from Organic Ocean (1% of all seafood sales goes to Chefs for Oceans)

Dee Keilholz is a Vancouver writer and storyteller with Chimp, an online platform that makes it easy to give to and fundraise for your favourite Canadian charities from one online account.