It was a Canadian milestone for the Ocean Wise program last Tuesday, as The Original Szechuan Chongqing Seafood Restaurant becomes the first Chinese restaurant in the Ocean Wise Program. This Vancouver landmark has been owned and operated by the Wong family for three decades, and is now in the of brother-and-sister team Robert and Lisa Wong. Robert is a highly trained and travelled fourth-generation executive chef, and is ready to build on the family legacy.
“The Szechuan Chongqing team is especially proud to become an Ocean Wise partner, and it means a lot to us to become Canada’s first Chinese restaurant and make Ocean Wise choices available to our loyal customers,” says Chef Wong. “With this shift, our customers will continue to enjoy our delicious Szechuan dishes, still made with our incredibly fresh ingredients – only now they will also have ocean-friendly seafood options.”
Chongqing becomes part of a larger network of chefs and restaurants committed to serving sustainable seafood. The Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program provides its members with the most current scientific information regarding sustainable seafood options. It also provides access to the best of what the oceans have to offer through innovative partnerships with fishers and suppliers, all of whom have committed to protecting the world’s oceans.
“Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is very excited to embrace Szechuan Chongqing as our new Ocean Wise partner – we’ve waited a long time to announce our first Chinese restaurant partner and we’re especially pleased to share this milestone with Chef Robert Wong and his team,” says Mike McDermid, Ocean Wise’s partner relations manager. “Szechuan Chongqing has already added several Ocean Wise seafood options to its menu and I can tell you with every confidence that you will continue to enjoy the amazing Szechuan culinary dishes offered by Chef Wong.”
Becoming Ocean Wise is a straightforward and seamless process for restaurants, markets, and suppliers, as the Vancouver Aquarium provides support every step of the way. After a seafood assessment, restaurants like Szechuan Chongqing are encouraged to make gradual and informed seafood menu changes and can get started with the Ocean Wise program, with the commitment to remove or replace just one unsustainable seafood item from its menu.
The Ocean Wise team collaborates with every partner to help them continue along the path of sustainability. Participating restaurants and other partners identify ocean-friendly menu options with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it simple for consumers to choose Ocean Wise dishes.
“By adopting a fin-free policy and joining the Ocean Wise program, Chongqing is showing that being environmentally and socially responsible makes a lot of business sense,” says Kevin Huang, Shark Truth Director of Campaigns. “With the absence of shark fin and removal of other unsustainable seafood items from its menu, Chongqing is leading the way in redefining Chinese cuisine with their usage of ocean-friendly ingredients.”
Chef Robert Wong has literally grown up living, eating and breathing Chinese restaurants. A fourth-generation chef, Chef Wong was raised on traditional Chinese dishes, first in Winnipeg and later in Vancouver. Thirty years later, the Wong family celebrates this important milestone as Canada’s first Chinese Ocean Wise partner, a significant step for The Original Szechuan Chongqing Seafood Restaurant.