Prawnfest comes to Kelowna
For just a couple of bucks—which will go to a good cause—you can taste the prawn-y creations of some of the area’s top chefs at the Okanagan’s first celebration of local B.C. prawns Saturday.
This is the season for commercial fishing for wild B.C. spot prawns off the west coast and there’s been a B.C. Spot Prawn Festival in Vancouver for the past five years—but this is the first such festival here in the Okanagan.
It began in order to develop an awareness of this species of local prawn, and it was started by chef Robert Clark, of C Restaurant, and Steve Johansen, of Organic Oceans, a prawn fisherman.
At that time more than 80 per cent of the local catch was shipped to Asia.
Kelowna seafood shop owner Jonathon Crofts, of Codfathers, encouraged the festival’s expansion to the Interior this year.
The Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. is organizing the inaugural local festival at Manteo Resort, 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 4.
It will be repeated the next day at Watermark Beach Resort in the South Okanagan.
Entrance is free, with tasting tickets for prawn samples available for $2 each. Proceeds will be donated to Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium program to ensure that only sustainably-caught seafood is served in restaurants and at seafood counters.
Participating restaurants include the Wild Apple from Manteo, RauDZ Regional Table, Cabana Grille, Bonfire at The Cove, Le Plateau Bistro and Clark.
Live, wild B.C. spot prawns will be available on site for sale from Codfathers. These prawns are known for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture and they are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp found on the west coast of Canada, explains Crofts.
They are only available fresh during the six to eight-week harvest season that began near the beginning of May.
Fishermen spread baited traps along the ocean floor at 40 to 100 metres in depth. There is little bycatch of other species and there is minimal impact on ocean habitat.
These prawns reproduce effectively under well-managed conditions such as now exist, explained Crofts, and the short season ensures females have a chance to reproduce before the season opens.