Perfectly cooked scallops were served glistening with oils and citrus juices on a sprig of Sweet Gale, also known as Bog Myrtle. Next to the scallops, a little cut of spruce bough, a small smooth stone, and a scallop shell. It’s lunch time at the Qalipu Business Forum and this years’ theme is culinary experience development.
Through presentations and hands on experiences, delegates at this years' event are learning about culinary themed business ventures or add-ons, and picking up new tips and techniques around the simple act of feeding people, like how to build story and intrigue into sharing the local foods that are part of our culture. Food, and experiences involving food, are a hot trend in tourism today and holds the promise of self-employment opportunities for people in our communities, or added value to new and existing businesses and tourism related ventures.
McCarthy asks diners not to eat the scallops yet. She guides them to make something first, to be a part of the food preparation by creating their own seasoning. Around the tables, each takes a turn dipping their fingers into the little dish of sea salt and gathering a pinch to add to the scallop shell along with the 5 or 6 little buds they’ve plucked and placed there from the sprig of Sweet Gale.
Diners are asked to grind the ingredients together with their little stone and scallop shell, a makeshift mortar and pestle. Around the room the senses are awakened with the clatter of rock against shell, a new fragrance, curiosity, laughter, and fun. Once the seasoning has been made, diners sprinkle their creation on the scallops and for those who love seafood, they delight in the long anticipated first bite.
The lunch also featured fish stew, probably just like your grandmother made if you’re from Newfoundland, but with the peels still on the potatoes to demonstrate the lesson of sustainability and using the whole plant, or the entire animal. The broth is simplicity at its finest, potato, cod, onion and a dash of savoury.