Chef of Chef Works: Ned Bell – Ocean Wise Special


1. Tell us about your journey into the culinary industry…

I started cooking for my brother and sister at the age of 12. I was the oldest, and my parents were divorced, my mom was working and often busy at night selling real estate, honestly, I got tired of frozen Costco lasagna and so started making stir fry’s. I think we ate fajitas, stir fry’s and chefs salads every day the first year. 😉


2. What sparked your passion for food and especially seafood?

I love cooking for people, it all began with family but quickly I became addicted to the industry. I started washing dishes at 14 and then never looked back. I went to culinary school straight out of high school, I am one of the lucky ones, I love what I do. Feeding people is a gift, and when your food has a message or a mission, and is authentic to that place then it carries with it clarity, it tastes of that place, those farmers, the fishermen, the ocean. I grew up wild salmon fishing with my dad and so the Ocean has always been a part of me, crunching crustaceans and whipping bull kelp at my brother and sister, I can still smell the ocean every time I think about it, salty, briny, clean, crisp.


3. What’s your favourite seafood dish to cook?

I love clams, mussels, all shellfish, it’s mother nature’s real fast food. They are filter feeders, all you need is a healthy ocean for them to thrive, they drink the ocean, consume the nutrients and we get to be a part of that connection. It’s really a true taste of place, we all need to eat more shellfish.


4. Tell us about your mission with Ocean Wise…

Our mission is to engage, educate and advocate for seafood, lakes, oceans and rivers, the ecosystem, the species, the fisherfolk and water farmers. We make it simple for cooks and chefs and the people we feed to make the best choices. Basing our recommendations in sound science, we want people to eat more seafood, clean healthy protein, we just want them to make the best possible decisions.

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5. Why is sustainable seafood so vital for the future of our oceans?

Every second breathe we take comes from the Ocean, there isn’t a more important topic, with overfishing and climate change being 2 of the top issues facing our worlds oceans, we need to dive in, understand more, celebrate the good and work towards addressing the challenges head on. Ocean Wise and the work we do, is a step in that direction, how much we as humans and consumers want to engage is up to us, I just want us to be conscious consumers.


6. Where can chef’s find advice on sustainable seafood…

The Ocean Wise seafood program is a great resource to find information on sustainable seafood options and they can also assess the sustainability of the seafood currently on your menu to help you make improvements from the beginning.


7. What would be the first step for a chef or venue switching to sustainable seafood?

Become an Ocean Wise partner. The work we do is incredibly valuable, needed, necessary, and, the more of us on the Team the more impact we can have.


8. What can the general public do to help save our oceans?

Choose Ocean Wise Seafood, fish mongers, and support Ocean Wise Restaurants. Start by just asking the questions, is this seafood Ocean Wise? is it sustainable?


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