Image from School of Fish Foundation
If you are anywhere near Vancouver, B.C. and you have a strong stomach, come on down to the Plastic Dining Room. You will need good sea legs because the "restaurant" is a raft made out of 1,700 plastic bottles. And you will be eating bottom feeder fish that are normally not considered haute cuisine.
The very elegant looking raft is moored at a dock at False Creek Yacht Club and holds a table for 12 hardy souls every night. They are serving a six-course sustainable seafood dinner with an environmental message.
Seventeen hundred bottles
It's all part of an initiative by the sustainable School of Fish Foundation whose goal is raising support and awareness of declining sea resources. The plastic part has to do with reminding us how much of a problem discarded plastic in the sea is to the fish. Organizers claim that "all materials going into and coming out of this floating dining room will be renewable, recycled, reclaimed and/or repurposed."
The Foundation is "dedicated to persuading culinary schools throughout the world to include a comprehensive sustainable seafood course as a requirement prior to graduation." They will provide the curriculum and subject materials for budding cooks and cooking schools to enable them to teach courses on sustainable seafood cooking. Their idea is that you educate up and coming young chefs to respect and cook with sustainable fish right from the start. As the founder of the Foundation says: "If we don't change our ways, there'll be a collapse of fisheries by 2048. This is a call to action through education."
The floating resto will only be operating for the next few weeks: it's a fundraiser for the School of Fish Foundation. The menu, created by a famous local chef, sounds delicious-- using all local and seasonal food, and fish straight from the sea. It includes: smoked trout, seared scallops, hazelnut crusted salmon and for dessert: Gabriel's heirloom apple tarte tatin.
Making the raft was an engineering challenge because they had to be sure that it wouldn't flip over and sink. The plastic bottles are encased in a wooden structure to keep them from biodegrading. Plexiglas inserts allow diners to look down and see parts of the assembled bottles. The wood framework is made from reclaimed damaged pine wood.