Let's start at the very origin, at least my intersection in to the stream that brought us - Kevin Kossowan, Jeff Senger and me - all together for this beautiful lunch experience. In late May, I attended and spoke in Toronto at Terroir Symposium, a very meaningful Canadian food event, as proven by this connection, which brings me this food, and these incredible new friends. Kevin and Jeff were there too. At Terroir Kevin spoke, and powerfully, about their project From The Wild, a series that shares Kevin and Jeff's adventures into the wild to find food. Kevin's special craft is the camera, Jeff's special craft is the knife - he has an abattoir in Sangudo, Alberta, specializing in custom, artisanal meatpacking, so he's got the mastery for breaking down their "catch". The series shares hunting and foraging techniques, invites chefs and others on the adventures, which always leads to their preparation of food and a meal shared. Also, most importantly to me, the series imparts the importance of connection with nature, particularly our sustainable food sources, through gorgeous and thematically on-point cinematography and candid and intimate interview style.
They are now into filming their fourth season of From The Wild which is what brought the two Alberta boys to the Okanagan. En route to shoot an episode off the Pacific Coast in BC on the remote Sonora Island, to forage, fish and hunt for lesser-eaten sea life including plants and animal species, they stopped in to visit us in the Okanagan Valley and make lunch with our mutual friend, Jennifer Cockrall-King. The pre-cursor to lunch was a wine tasting and good talk with Tyler Harlton at TH Wines, a small batch producer of very natural wines. The wine paired perfectly with Jeff's family-raised Rabbit Roulade and Jennifer's Foraged Naramata Watercress Soup enjoyed that fine day a couple of weeks ago.
I have been following From The Wild all along with great interest, on Instagram @fromthewildca, and so when I found Kevin that first night at the reception for Terroir Symposium, I was so happy for a face-to-face connection. Then moments behind, Jeff. Oh Jeff, who's mind and heart both race with passion. I felt an instant kinship, and in fact, during that whole event across the days, I kept saying, I just love the Albertans! Maybe it was just a Western Canadian bonding thing, or maybe it's just the loving vibes of such intentional people. It's the loving vibes :)
So, the lunch from the sea, was in fact, a shore lunch (but this day, it was from Pacific Ocean to Okanagan Lake shore)
On their way back to Alberta, after a very successful food expedition on the ocean, they made a delivery of wild ocean bounty mid-day at my house that was full of the utmost gloriousness. For a quick turn around to get them back on the road to Edmonton, these cockles (above) were steamed in a pot with some fennel, shallots, garlic scapes, grass fed butter and olive oil that I first sautéed. All that was topped with half a bottle of TH Wines Viognier, and the lid was put on to steam for 15 minutes. Cockles are considered unfavourable, otherwise known to industrial fishing operations as by-catch. We wholeheartedly disagree.
Next, the oysters. This is a first, for Jeff, a man who has killed, broken down, skinned and raised more animals than anyone I have known, or even know of. It was his first shuck, and that sweet luscious oyster was made mine, in one very big slurp :) I made a fresh cherry mignonette with white vinegar, and finely diced shallots. Oh, and I found some foraged horseradish that Scott Moran and I harvested. Okanagan terroir, meet Sonora Island Ocean terroir. Over all though, the sweet milky oysters didn't really need much of anything.
We all had to say farewell rather promptly after the satisfying feast of fresh ocean, so the boys could get on the road home. They left me with some hand-harvested air-dried wakame seaweed, the crab below (story on that in a different Journal post), and a heart full of great memories. Follow the links to all their projects and enjoy and support these great humans good work.