Robert Clark

Known as the “seafood ambassador”, Robert Clark was raised in a family where all of the men cooked, and grew up fly-fishing for salmon on the York River in Gaspé, where his father still lives off the land. Clark began his career training at George Brown College and went on to work in Toronto’s finest kitchens, from The King Edward Hotel to The Windsor Arms, working with Canada’s top chefs including Jamie Kennedy, Mark Thuet, John Higgins and Michael Bonacini. Always drawn to the sea, after a working holiday in Southeast Asia and Australia, Clark relocated to Vancouver in the 1990s, but was disappointed with the quality of the fish supply, claiming it was like “trying to shop for designer shoes at Wal-Mart”. So he cut out the middleman, and went straight to the boats – not only was the seafood better, there was more variety to choose from and soon the chef was adding sea cucumber to salads and barnacles to soups. His former restaurant Star Anise, remains the only restaurant to ever win the Vancouver Magazine awards for “Restaurant of the Year” and “Best New Restaurant” in the same year. His mission statement is to ensure that only sustainable products are harvested from earth and sea – a philosophy embraced by the brigade at his Vancouver C Restaurant, from the owners, to the cooks to the servers. (He also owns two other restaurants, Nu and Rain City.) And to raise awareness, Clark helped launch Ocean Wise in 2005, an organization that advises restaurants on sustainable seafood choices. Ever a chef, his focus has changed somewhat: “What’s important to me now is how the food got to the plate.”