Jacob Richler’s delicious second day at the West Coast Fishing Club‘s annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure is short on fish, but long on flavour.
Day 2: Dammann and I got out and at it early, starting the day at Gunia, making the drift over Boulder, and back, again and again. It was 2 hours and 15 minutes before I had a strike, which of course by then took me so completely by surprise that I botched it. An hour – and one more strike – later Derek and I called it a morning. Tide change was coming at 2 pm – and we would be ready. I would, anyway. For this time Derek stayed back, and I headed out with a well-rested chef Normand and Sophie.
The tide enlivened Gunia – but only modestly. Ten minutes after pulling up, I grudgingly fed a Salmon lunch to a stealthy sea lion. And as it lingered, unsated, trailing our Whaler we soon upped stakes and moved to Macpherson, and from there on to Cohoe Point. Alas, the Pinks had got there first. They were shallow, they were deep, they were taking bait as it dropped on the down rigger, they were taking bait from other Pinks even as we reeled them in to the boat. The pesky Pinks were everywhere. So after tearing through most of our bait, with only a few nine-pound Cohos to show for our efforts, we called it a day.
Back at the lodge, the fish board told the story of slow but promising improvement in the Chinook haul, which was doubled from the day before. No Tyees had been taken, but a dozen fish in the mid-twenties had been landed. Some of them had even been released. On the other hand, some anxious anglers had hung on to their 10s and 12s. Others – like me – pegged our hopes on an early start for the next morning’s 8 am tide change.
And in the meantime, on dinner. Wherein Val Warner was setting about proving that some TV chefs do in fact know how to cook – and cook very well indeed. Years back Val had worked in some great London kitchens – including one of my old favourites, on Frith Street in Soho, called Alistair Little. For someone who learned his craft in the UK with very British ingredients. We started with baked Kusshi oysters, from Vancouver Island.
Then onto veal breast, roasted pink and lightly smoked on the Yoder on the Clubhouse deck, with roasted tomatoes, braised endive, and Japanese turnips.
Nice clean, contemporary English cooking – with nicely matched, unmuddled flavours – and no pretentious flourishes.
Good stuff, indeed.
The 2017 West Coast Fishing Club Culinary Adventure runs at The Clubhouse July 16 to 20. Click here for more information.