Vancouver Chef Ned Bell Rides Across Canada for Sustainable Seafood

Stories | September 3, 2014

Vancouver Chef Ned Bell is well known for the cutting-edge culinary creations he serves up at the Four Seasons’ Yew Restaurant.


In addition to being a celebrated chef, he’s also one of Canada’s most outspoken ambassadors for sustainable seafood. And he’s not just talking the talk, he is walking the walk.

Since July, Chef Bell has been riding his bike across Canada to raise awareness for sustainable seafood. His journey, called Chefs for Oceans, will take him through all 10 provinces, covering a total distance of over 8,700 kilometres.


Although his ride across Canada puts him in the public eye, his endeavour goes far beyond one person, Chef Bell says.

“Sure, I’m the crazy guy on the bike and I wanted a physical and mental challenge, but I also wanted to engage people and spread the importance of healthy oceans, lakes and rivers.”

Chef Bell is hoping to create a movement that will allow every Canadian access to sustainable seafood by 2025, and to rally support to create a National Sustainable Seafood Day every March 18.

Until September 12, he is also raising money via his Chimp campaign page for the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, SeaChoice and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

“As a chef my career experience is largely behind the burners and in front of guests, so the learning curve on a journey and a goal like this one is steep,” he says.

“Chimp helped guide me, helped with the logistics of fundraising and remains a kind and enthusiastic partner as the first official leg of Chefs for Oceans draws to a close.”


A “Monster Project” To Create Change

Lana Gunnlaugson, National SeaChoice Manager and part of the Chefs for Oceans team, remembers when Chef Bell shared his “crazy idea” with her for the first time.

“I was very hesitant at first. What convinced me was that I knew Ned was determined enough to make Chefs for Oceans a reality. And I am also slightly addicted to monster projects that have the ability to create change.”

Since then, Chef Bell has been riding 140 to 200km each day — mingling with local chefs, fishermen, and oyster farmers at stops along the way.


His epic bike ride has not been without its challenges. His campaign bus got lost in Montreal at the beginning of his journey, and he had to ride his bike during a tropical storm with winds reaching up to 70 kilometres.

Chef Bell, however, doesn’t want to dwell on the difficulties when there is so much to celebrate and enjoy.

“The journey itself is the highlight. Every place I have visited has been so special,” Bell says.

Preserving the Oceans for Future Generations

Being able to inspire and educate Canadians all across the country through his bike ride, is vitally important to his mission, Chef Bell says.

“Understanding where our food comes from helps us make better, more responsible decisions that will allow us to sustainably feed ourselves moving forward.”


By choosing local, sustainably sourced fish and seafood, Canadians have the power to fight one of society’s greatest threats to long-term food security: overfishing.

“Two billion people rely on the ocean for their daily source of protein. As we look ahead to 2015, when there are going to be 9 billion people, how are we going to feed all of those people?”


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