Denman Island featured on Moosemeat & Marmalade TV show

Denman Island featured on Moosemeat & Marmalade TV show

Travel and cooking show team Art Napoleon and Dan Hayes discovered Denman Island’s “five-mile diet” as they caught Dungeness and Rock crab, harvested oysters and sea asparagus, and shopped at the Denman Island Farmers Market. Filmed in summer of 2018 on Denman Island, BC, Episode 13: Crabs & Oysters of Moosemeat & Marmalade aired on May 2nd on APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network).

Now in its fourth season, the show brings two very different chefs together to explore culture, culinary traditions, and really good food throughout Canada and Europe. Dan Hayes is a classically-trained chef from London, England, while Art Napoleon is an indigenous bush cook from the Moberly Lake reserve in Northern BC. “We explore each other’s culture with food,” says Dan.

More than a cooking show, the co-hosts explore food sustainability and food security, traditional cooking, ways to create minimal waste, and show respect for the food sources and communities visited.

The program is a perfect fit for Denman Island values, and local connections were able to make it happen.

Denman Island resident Hilary Pryor is co-owner of the Moosemeat & Marmalade production company (along with -Art Napoleon), Executive Producer of the series, and director of the Denman Island episode. Hilary relocated to Denman Island from Saanich two years ago.

“We moved to Denman Island because we love the community, the nature, and the shared values of sustainability, respect, and tolerance,” she said. “It also fits the values of the show, which include sustainability and reconciliation.”

Bringing cultures together through food and laughter is a soft step toward reconciliation, and part of the of the show’s success is the chefs’ friendly bickering and bantering.

Denman resident Maxine Matilpi, an old friend of Art’s, was part of the show, welcoming them at the ferry, hosting them at her home, and taking them to the Farmer’s Market.

“The show was so much fun,” said Maxine. “I love that they emphasized sustainability and our Farmer’s Market and that they pulled together different elements of the community.”

Chefs Dan Hayes and Art Napoleon join Denman Islander Maxine Matilpi at the Farmers Market.

Art describes Denman as an ‘eco-friendly little island’ and refers to the Market as ‘the hotspot on every Islander’s social calendar.’

Art and Dan met the Farmer’s Market Committee Chair Veronica Timmons, who explained the market’s goal of Denman feeding Denman.

“We are working to make the Island agriculturally sustainable. We want to be ready and resilient to climate change.”

She says the market now has 47 vendors (including seven new additions this year) compared to 12 vendors just four years ago.

“It’s a vibrant event and unique experience with our Free Store,” she says of the second-hand shop at the Market where everything is free, but patrons can donate if able.

Dan was amazed at the concept, “People just take them – for free!” and walked away with a nice oyster shucker.

He was also impressed by Two Roads Farm’s produce, “Sam’s vegetables are incredible! They’re fresh, vibrant, they are colourful, and they have that sense that they were picked at 5 a.m. with the dew still clinging to them.”

And Art gave a shout out to Denman’s Ima’s Kitchen, “Where else are you going to find all this diversity? Including an Israeli-style bakery!”

Denmanite Angus Hayman took them crabbing, where an unprepared Dan caught crab in his boxer shorts, proclaiming that crabbing was very easy, “See them and you catch them!”

Then they harvested oysters with Doug Wright of Lone Pine Farm and foraged sea asparagus on the beach.

The two chefs also tried kayaking with Nick Tancon, a local guide for his family’s business Denman Hornby Canoes and Kayaks Ltd., and Art ended up wetter than he expected!

To get some local Indigenous culture they visited the Fillongley Park totem pole with Komoks First Nation Elder Mary Everson and her son Andy, who explained that the word Komoks comes from the word for wealth in the Kwakwala language. “It’s a wealthy area in terms of abundance of resources.”

With their Denman Island bounty, the chef’s cooked up a final feast for the locals, where Maxine declared the meal a five-mile diet: Muskeg Boiled Crab with Ocean Salad, and Panko-fried Denman Oysters with Asian-inspired local Vegetables, and a Two Ewes white wine from Denman’s Corlan Vineyard.

By Trish Weatherall, Published in the Islands Grapevine, May 9, 2019