Tofino's Feast Showcases Flavours of the West Coast
Huffpost | July 8, 2016
Dylan Tilston plucks the head off of a live prawn, cracks the shell that covers the belly and spine, squeezes the tail to remove the remaining meat and then pitches it into his mouth. "That's the way you eat 'em," says the self-proclaimed foodie. "Try it."
I did. My technique wasn't nearly as smooth as Tilston's, who studied culinary arts at George Brown College in Toronto before trekking to the "End of the Road," the term often used to describe Tofino. I jostle with the tiny prawn, which twitches its antennae as my forefingers and thumb clutch onto its head. Its eyes are black. It's nearly dead already when I rip off its head and toss it into Clayoquot Sound, the mesmerizingly beautiful and soulful waters that flow eastward from Tofino and the Pacific Ocean.
Clumsily, I open it up and eat it raw as Tilston and boat captain Paul Karbouzian suggested. The morsel is full of pure flavour. The British Columbia spot prawn has spawned festivals in its honour and diners across the province are delighted when restaurants annually dream up dishes featuring the delicacy. In Tofino, the spot prawn comes into shore by the boatload, pleasing chefs and connoisseurs.
"The quality of the product here is incredible and people know it, they care about keeping it that way," says Warren Barr, the executive chef at the Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn. On his menu, he makes what is surely the most artful use of spot prawns in Canada. He plates it with a circle of smashed peas, and tops it with powdered lemongrass that looks like feta cheese, edible flowers and, brilliantly, dots of white chocolate. It's one of the most interesting and delicious dishes I've had in the province. (more) - Adrian Brijbassi
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