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Chowder Chowdown brings out operatic side of seafood in Vancouver

11/19/2014 06:10 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
Every year, top chefs from across B.C. pick up the ladle for the Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver, cooking before an audience to provide the most delicious soup of the season. 

But for Prince Rupert's representative at the competition, sushi chef Daisuke Fukusaku, it's a lot more than a mere competition.

Fukusaku grew up in Tokyo, where he studied music at university and eventually became an opera singer.

But it wasn't his true calling. Instead, he moved to Prince Rupert, B.C. and discovered fresh seafood.

"When I first moved to Prince Rupert I was very surprised there was so much great fresh seafood available here that is not sold in local grocery stores," Fukusaku told the CBC's Carolina de Ryk.

"So I wanted to show people what's available in this area and make sure they are caught in a sustainable manner."

After years of learning to make sushi at a local restaurant, "Dai", as he's known around town, struck out on his own, opening a restaurant simply named Fukusaku.

He wanted to make the most beautiful sushi possible — and in the most sustainable way possible. Everything he uses is from B.C., and everything is certified by Oceanwise as ocean-friendly.

Now, Daisuke Fukusaku is on a mission to share the song of his seafood in a bowl of chowder.

He lists the ingredients: "Chinook salmon, black cod, dungeness crab, side strip shrimp, octopus, and Manila clam."

Everything in the chowder gets the all-star treatment.

"We cook octopus by ourselves by rubbing it for 15 minutes with the salt, then we rub it again with radish for another 15 minutes, and then we boil it for 10 to 15 minutes," he says.

"So it's really labour intensive, but you can taste the taste difference right away.

"When I cook my chowder, I don't cook my shrimp at all. I just peel the shrimp, put in the bowl, and put the chowder on top of it. This is a secret I learned from the fishermen.

"It took me probably two, three years to finalize everything, and it's still improving so... we've got the best quality seafood. All I'm trying to do is let them sing."

The 2014 Chowder Chowdown will be held at the Vancouver Aquarium on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets are $50 plus applicable taxes. Note: This is a 19+ event.

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