Ex­cited about seafood in Bay Roberts

Town gear­ing up for sec­ond an­nual fes­ti­val

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It may be a win­ter’s day in spring on March 25, but in­side his of­fice at the Ca­ble Build­ing in Bay Roberts, Ron De­laney is dream­ing of spring.

The town’s di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and tourism has been field­ing calls and emails from ea­ger food­ies from the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia re­gion and be­yond since the web­site for the sec­ond Songs, Stages and Seafoods went live on March 21.

In­ter­est in the seafood fes­ti­val ap­pears to be at an all-time high and it is still two months away. It is sched­uled for May 22-25 at many dif­fer­ent venues in Bay Roberts.

The out­door seat­ing for the Chef ’ s Seafood Bar­beque has been sold out, with seats re­main­ing in­side at the Royal Cana­dian Legion. De­laney said he is ex­cited about this year’s edi­tion of what is quickly be­com­ing a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion.

“It was a great fit and it is a great fit,” said De­laney. “We wanted to bring some amaz­ing chefs to the area, we wanted to try and in­te­grate the sea and some of the venues next the sea here, and we did that.” The di­rec­tor called last year’s event a “learn­ing curve.” Per­haps the group’s great­est learn­ing curve dealt with the food as­pect. The aim for the first one was to gen­er­ate prod­ucts that were made com­pletely from lo­cal prod­ucts. Bay Roberts came close but never quite got to that goal with a 95 per cent of the food used be­ing pur­chased from lo­cal ven­dors.

How­ever, this year’s event will be dif­fer­ent. De­laney said that bar­ring any rare re­quests from chefs, the town will be us­ing 100 per cent lo­cal prod­ucts.

“The only way it won’t be is if one of the chefs de­cides to do some­thing like caviar. Some­thing that’s ex­otic and not from the area,” he said.

Mu­sic com­po­nent

This fes­ti­val is not only about serv­ing up that per fect ba­con-wrapped scal­lop or boil­ing a large lob­ster. There is also a mu­si­cal com­po­nent to be found. “Stages as a term has two mean­ings,” said De­laney. “Stages are where you har­vest the fish, but it is also for per­for­mance.”

Bay Roberts has a his­tory of build­ing mu­si­cal com­po­nents into its tourism events. From its “Tou­tons and Tunes” to “Cellars and Songs,” there is al­ways mu­sic to be heard at the con­clu­sion of these events. De­laney said it is be­cause it adds a real­is­tic feel to it.

All-star cast

“We have the best of the best chef ’s in the prov­ince com­ing here this year,” said De­laney. “All of them are well-known across Canada.”

He was talk­ing about the all­star crew be­ing brought to Bay Roberts for the fes­ti­val. Along­side the Har­bour Breeze’s Gary Gosse, there will be Roary MacPher­son, Chris Shep­pard, Roger An­drews and Chris Chafe, amongst oth­ers.

What sets the Songs, Stages and Seafood fes­ti­val apart from oth­ers of its kind, ac­cord­ing to De­laney, is the ed­u­ca­tional com­po­nent avail­able to vis­i­tors.

At its Ex­pe­ri­ence the Sea Lun­cheon, chefs will show guests how to make their meals. There is also the New­found­land and Labrador Seafood Chow­der Chal­lenge, where vis­i­tors will re­ceive in­struc­tions on cre­at­ing their own chow­ders.

“It is a provin­cial-level fes­ti­val,” said De­laney.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Ron De­laney is di­rec­tor of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and tourism with the Town of Bay Roberts.

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