Chef Chris Whittaker loves local, and it shows. Whether he’s sourcing supplies from nearby farms, cooking up a storm in the Vancouver Aquarium’s Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown, or giving customers personal cooking tips, he still finds the time to serve up amazing meals at his pioneering restaurant Forage AND support our We Heart Local app and awards to boot. We caught up with him in between good causes to find out more about his passion for local food and community.
What makes Forage a “local’s local” restaurant?
A “local” is your favourite neighbourhood watering hole or restaurant. That’s what we want to be – a fun, friendly spot that is comfortable and unpretentious where the service and pricing are approachable. We don’t want to just be a special occasion restaurant (although we do love to share in celebrations!) but a place that our neighbours drop by on a regular basis.
Forage works with lots of good causes, from supporting Ocean Wise to celebrating the BC Hospitality Foundation. How are community and food connected for you?
Social responsibility and sustainability are interconnected so our work with groups like Farm Folk, City Folk; Growing Chefs; and Ocean Wise is just natural. We love to work with people we feel aligned with – whether it’s around our commitment to farm to table or with neighbours like the Dr. Peter Centre or A Loving Spoonful – it’s an honour for us to be able to bring people together over good food.
We love the creative events that happen at Forage. To give readers a taste of the fun, can you describe your regular Meat Draw?
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned meat draw? We hold these draws every Sunday through Wednesday night. All of our diners can submit their name and we announce the winner at 8:00 pm. We even have a cowbell to get everyone’s attention! The winner receives a great cut of local meat (pork belly from Gelderman Farms is a popular one) that serves 4-6 people as well as a recipe.
You’re a two-time local chowder champ in the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown …and Wild Spot Prawn season is well underway! What should people look for in a really good chowder?
Sustainable local seafood is key! A little cream and pork hock aren’t a bad idea either though.
We’ll leave you with Chef Chris Whittaker’s recipe for chowder here.