Friday, November 20, 2015

Two days on a spot prawn boat with True North!

I have been waiting over a year to post about these guys. In May 2014, I spent two days on a spot prawn boat with the crew of Organic Ocean & Maison Publique. Derek Dammann, (a good friend of mine) chef of Montreal's amazing restaurant Maison Publique was traveling from coast to coast shooting his cookbook True North with Chris John's, a well known Canadian food writer . My gf, Farah Khan was his photographer and I jumped at the chance of joining them all.

First off, we spent two days on the boat which gave me the sense of just how hard these guys work. It is intense, tiring & extremely physical. I was tired just watching them. We were up at the crack of dawn both days & on the dock at 5am, without coffee which made it even harder but when there is no toilet on board, as a girl you make a smart decision. As we left the dock, we watched all the container boats docked outside Vancouver, waiting their turn to be called in. It was early, the sun was rising and it was very calm, but the calmness stopped once the work began. At our first stop we are warned about moving about for photo's, the ropes are moving fast and we needed to be aware, otherwise one can get seriously injured. Traps are hauled in, spot prawns are washed & moved to containers, traps are handed off, new food put in and stacked behind ready to be dropped back in after. There were about 50 traps at each location & I think we hit about five separate locations. That's 250 traps hauled in & 250 traps pushed back out, only to be collected & repeated the following morning. It was incredible watching these guys work at speed & agility, coordinating everything perfectly, which is a must in the business, especially if you are to be back at the dock by 1pm in order to sell your haul to the restaurants & lines waiting for you at shore.

Funnily enough, spot prawns were not the only things to come up in the traps. We saw a lot of crabs, of all shapes & sizes. Another thing was the intelligent Octopus. They manage to creep their way into all the traps, they eat whatever spot prawn is inside, they get hauled up in the traps, nothing inside except an octopus with a full belly & they are thrown back into the ocean. Definitely not a fisherman's friend in this case.

On day two, Derek made a spot prawn ceviche, the recipe is in the True North cookbook. It was absolutely incredible, the flavours were amazing & honestly, you cannot get any fresher than the spot prawns we just ate. You can see some of the images below.

If you happen to be in Vancouver, drop down to Granville Island & ask for Frank & Steve of Organic Ocean. If you are lucky enough you will get to head out with them for the day. If that is not your thing then line up & buy some of their fresh spot prawns. True North is out on the shelves now, you can see more recipes & images from the trip in the book. Head out & buy it. It is said to be one of Canada's top cookbooks to own. Well done to Derek, Chris & Farah on an amazing job well done. You can buy it online here