The Okanagan’s first B.C. Spot Prawn Festival was an overwhelming success, with more than 300 pounds of the West Coast crustaceans sold out in just over an hour Saturday.
Hundreds of seafood lovers crammed the waterfront patio at Manteo Resort for the festival, which celebrates the short, six- to eight-week fishing season for the delectable B.C. species of prawn.
Local chefs prepared a variety of small plates using the fresh prawns to showcase their sweet flavour and firm texture, and people lined up after purchasing tickets to have a taste of the creations.
Proceeds from the event will go to Ocean Wise, a Vancouver Aquarium program to ensure only sustainably-caught seafood is served at seafood counters and in restaurants.
It’s a program that’s passionately supported by many local chefs and seafood shop owners who believe in the importance of discouraging practices such as bottom trawling, which strips the ocean floor of everything in order for the fisherman to pick out certain items to sell. The rest is wasted.
A spot prawn festival has been held in Vancouver for the past five years, but this is the first time it’s been organized in the interior.
Spearheaded by Codfathers’ owner Jon Crofts, it was organized by the Chef’s Table Society and the Pacific Prawn Fisherman’s Association.
A festival was also held at the Watermark Resort in Osoyoos Sunday.
Organizers feel the success of this year’s effort points to the likelihood of it becoming an annual event in Kelowna.
Nearly all of B.C.’s spot prawns used to be exported to Asia until the festival increased local chefs’ and consumers’ awareness of them.