Glowbal chef boils up a fisherman's catch of seafood

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      This spring, the Glowbal Collection—which owns a group of restaurants including the Fish Shack (1026 Granville Street)—unveiled its first North Shore property. Trattoria in West Vancouver (757 Main Street) mirrors the six-year-old Kitsilano location with the same name and the same casual Italian menu. However, in addition to a cozy patio on the street, the Park Royal location also features a sunny rooftop dining space that overlooks the mall’s south entrance. Like each of Glowbal’s patios, the outdoor spaces at Trattoria and the Fish Shack are popular spots for sipping, dining, and people-watching.

      “For the most part, we try to heat our patios so they’re accommodating year-round,” says Ryan Gauthier, corporate executive chef for the Glowbal Collection, during an interview with the Georgia Straight at the Fish Shack. “The patio here is not massive, so in the winter, there’s not a lot of people who would sit out there, but at Black + Blue, the patio is completely covered and heated, so it’s popular year-round. Coast also has a covered patio. It almost feels like an extension of the restaurant’s dining room.”

      Gauthier has worked for the Glowbal Collection since 2007, so he’s seen the company grow into one of Vancouver’s most successful restaurant groups. The Pitt Meadows–raised chef started at Italian Kitchen after stints at Joe Fortes and West Vancouver’s Beachhouse restaurant. After three years cooking at Italian Kitchen, he moved into the corporate-chef role.

      “It’s fun because it’s never dull. It’s always new, and there’s different people to work with and different ingredients to cook with,” he says. “The amazing thing about our company is that everybody on the corporate and executive teams were all chefs. We’re all on the same page, passionately trying to make the restaurants better.”

      While many of the Glowbal Collection’s establishments—such as Black + Blue, Glowbal, and Coast—are considered upscale, Gauthier says the company was eager to try something different when it opened the Fish Shack in 2012. The casual seafood eatery located in the Granville Entertainment District has a fun, nautical theme. Fish tacos and po’ boy sandwiches are served in checkered-paper-lined baskets, and drinks arrive in Mason jars.

      “We wanted to make it approachable for everyone, whether it’s tourists coming from a hotel wanting something fun or people from the city walking by,” Gauthier explains. “The Fish Shack is all about fish and chips, fresh oysters, and fresh seafood.”

      One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is the Fisherman’s Catch, which includes an assortment of shellfish, squid, chorizo, corn on the cob, and potatoes. The “catch” is boiled to order and seasoned with a Cajun spice mix. Below, Gauthier shares a recipe for a similar dish, which he says is ideal for casual summer dining since most of the ingredients are eaten without utensils. Gauthier notes that his recipe is a starting point, and he encourages home cooks to pick and choose their favourite ingredients.

      “Instead of a whole lobster you could do lobster tails, and instead of mussels and clams, you could use calamari,” he says. “The good thing about this recipe is you can make it however you want to make it with the shellfish and seafood you enjoy. Just start with the longest-cooking seafood first and work your way in.”

      To pair with the Fisherman’s Catch, Gauthier recommends a crisp lager, Hefeweizen, or a glass of Pinot Gris.

      Ryan Gauthier’s fisherman’s catch


      1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
      2 stalks celery, diced
      ½ onion, peeled and diced
      4 cloves garlic, peeled
      1 medium knob ginger, peeled and diced
      1 carrot, peeled and diced
      1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
      1 cup (250 mL) shellfish stock or fish stock
      3 lemons, cut into halves
      2 corn cobs, each cut into 4 pieces
      8 baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved
      ½ lb (227 g) cured chorizo
      16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
      8 Manila clams
      12 whole, unshelled prawns
      1 Dungeness crab (1½ lb [680 g]), parboiled for 10 minutes and cut into pieces
      2 lobsters, (1 lb [454 g] each), parboiled for 10 minutes, tails cut in half lengthwise
      Old Bay or Cajun seasoning, to taste
      1 lemon, quartered, for serving
      Clarified butter (see recipe below)


      1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat and cook celery, onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot for about 10 minutes until softened. Add wine and stock, and bring to a boil before adding halved lemons. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Season with salt to taste. Strain and discard vegetables. Keep broth warm.
      2. Over medium-high heat, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add corn and potatoes; cook corn for 3 minutes and potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, until fork-tender.
      3. Bring broth to a boil. Bundle the corn, potatoes, chorizo, and seafood into a mesh net, tie it up, and carefully lower it into the hot broth. (If you don’t have a net, simply place the ingredients in the broth.) Cook for about 4 minutes, or until mussel shells and clamshells open and prawns are pink. Using a pair of tongs, carefully lift the net out of the pot and place in a large bowl before cutting open. (If not using a net, use a slotted spoon to scoop ingredients into a large bowl.)
      4. Season dish with Old Bay or Cajun seasoning to taste and serve with lemon wedges and clarified butter on the side.

      Clarified butter

      ½ lb (227 g) butter

      1. Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Skim the white milk solids as they come to the surface until none remain. Keep warm to serve.

      Yield: 4 main-size servings.

      Recipe has not been tested by the Georgia Straight.

      Chef Ryan Gauthier demonstrates how to open a lobster.

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