Eating-up Stratford
Bite by Byte

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Real Catch: Simple Fish Company Open House!

Now admittedly there are some folks who get a lot of play here on The Local-Come-Lately. Probably none more than Shawn Hartwell, the culinary artist formerly known as the Chef at Simple Fish and Chips (although Paul "Fink" Finkelstein and Antony "The Manic Organic" John also definitely make near-weekly cameo appearances). When I type Shawn's name in the text box over on the right (where it says "Search Previous Posts") I get 11 results, including: 

My third-ever post where I declared Simple Fish and Chips Stratford's most sustainable restaurant based on their all-Oceanwise and Canadian-caught fish sourcing policy. 

My reviews of the incredible sustainable seafood fine dining series Simple hosted last winter. 

My most recent post about the high school Culinary Arts trip to Cuba Shawn and I were mentors on last month. 

And of course, who will ever forget the classic Local-Come-Lately/Simple Fish and Chips mash-up when I tried to eat the Mammoth Lobster Sandwich in honour of Simple's one year anniversary a year ago.

I hope I didn't alarm anyone when I identified Shawn earlier as "formerly known as the Chef at Simple Fish and Chips". He's not going anywhere, and neither are Stratford's best fish and chips. But this week "Simple Fish and Chips" officially became "Simple Fish Company", as Shawn and his wife Candice expanded their operation to also include a spectacular fish market!

Candice's belly is currently harbouring a little fish of their own - their soon-to-be-son is due in February (why do I think it's going to be a Pisces?).

For almost a whole year Shawn's been hooking me (and everyone else who goes to the Slow Food Sunday Market) up with pristine fresh fish as well as his perfectly seasoned prepared fish and seafood offerings like the house-made chowder, fish cakes and salmon burgers. Although Simple will continue to sell at the Sunday market (henceforth you'll find Shawn and the other "Good, Clean and Fair" vendors at the Anything Grows winter venue!) we can now get this beautiful product all the time at the Downie Street resto-market!

To celebrate the evolution of Simple Fish and Chips to Simple Fish Company Shawn and Candice hosted an open house on Monday with champagne and - of course! - loads of phenomenal fish and seafood! A nearby Indian restaurant lets Shawn use their tandoori oven to cook an Indian-spiced Sockeye salmon - one of my favourite fish dishes of all time!

Brendon "Caveman" Lyoness (another character who gets a lot of play on this blog) was going toe-to-toe with me slurping down fresh-shucked West Coast oysters.

In case anyone was worried about Simple changing too much, the Fish and Chips menu was still front and centre. It's scaled back a little (they're keeping it simple!) but everything you'd ever want is still up there.... 

...along with some creative new daily specials on the side chalkboard!

I know I'll be buying all the fish I serve to my family from Simple Fish Company, so the Staceys and another fish-loving household split one of Simple FC's $500 "Fish Stocks", which gives us vouchers we can redeem for $700 worth of sustainable fish and seafood (just not all at once!).

Shawn will be hosting workshops and demos to inspire people to eat and cook more sustainable fish and seafood on Mondays throughout the winter. This Monday (November 21, 2011) the session is free, so go check it out - especially if you missed the boat on the Open House!

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