Setting sail for fine feasts

Sailors take their culinary talent on exploration of Island waters

BY LARISSA JOHNSTON, TIMES COLONIST - JULY 27, 2011

From left: Arran Jackson, Brendan Harris and Janusz Urban on a 29-ft sailboat heading for a one-month cooking discovery of Desolation Sound. Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, Times Colonist

From left: Arran Jackson, Brendan Harris and Janusz Urban on a 29-ft sailboat heading for a one-month cooking discovery of Desolation Sound.
Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, Times Colonist

The Salish Sea's waves and winds are wafting wild aromas of fresh culinary creations.

The crew of Tiki, a 29foot sailboat, set sail Saturday to find, forage, farm and fish all the food the crew will cook and eat during a month-long journey on the water and islands between Victoria and Desolation Sound.


They'll be dining gourmet style, thanks to chef Janusz Urban.

But he shies away from the label.

Urban tries to avoid titles in the kitchen - or the galley - and the two other young men on board also whip up food that's just as savoury.

"With titles, you get this hierarchy, and people get lost and forget why they're cooking. Do they even like the food they're producing? It's all just a battle. It's just silly," said Urban, 25, as he sat on Tiki, docked at the Oak Bay Marina, after finishing his last day of work before the sailing excursion.

Urban is one of two chefs on the savoury side of Feys and Hobbs Catered Arts.

"I go to people's houses and make awesome food at parties. I get excited to go on site and broadcast what I love to do."

He'll be exploring that passion during The Foragers Galley journey with Arran Jackson, 23, and Brendan Harris, 24.

The three young men will share creations with others they meet along the way.
"I'm pretty excited to make some ravioli and go down the dock with some white dishes and offer dinner to other boaters," said Urban.

They also want to visit farms, sharing and swapping ingredients with growers.

"If anybody's really proud of the food they're producing or if anyone knows of places that are abundant in some kind of food, that's what we're looking for."

One way to learn a lot about a place and its culture is by the ingredients available and how people prepare them, said Harris, the captain and owner of Tiki.

The journey is about connecting food to a time and a place, so they created the term "locational feasting."

"It's being at a spot, getting food from right there, cooking it right there and having that represent where we are," Urban said.

But they don't yet know where their journey will take them.

They want to visit Savary Island, Cortes Island and Jedediah Island, but their plans might change depending on their findings.

"Sailing and foraging is really opportunistic. If you find a spot that's just so abundant with things, you'll stay," said Jackson, who is documenting the trip with video and photographs.

"[Vancouver] Island is the perfect breeding ground for living off the land."

ljohnston@timescolonist.com
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

From left: Arran Jackson, Brendan Harris and Janusz Urban on a 29-ft sailboat heading for a one-month cooking discovery of Desolation Sound. Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, Times Colonist

From left: Arran Jackson, Brendan Harris and Janusz Urban on a 29-ft sailboat heading for a one-month cooking discovery of Desolation Sound.
Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, Times Colonist