My story about sustainable seafood in Vancouver won the 2016 Explore Canada Award of Excellence last fall which was gratifying because it was one of those stories I did in hopes of making a difference. Our oceans have been overhunted and polluted to near the breaking point but a group of chefs in Vancouver is seeking to stem the tide and their influence is being felt across Canada.

Chef Ned Bell of the Four Seasons’ YEW restaurant, buys sustainable fish from fishermen at the city’s wharf.

The other two North American winners were from the L.A. Times and Washington Post. Thanks to judge Gail Simmons, the Canadian food writer and Top Chef personality, who selected my entry as the winner of the Culinary category.

Destination Canada even made a 2-minute video about the story, calling it a “tantalizing article,” the first time I’ve ever had one of my stories made into a video.

In announcing the award, Simmons said: “In his in-depth exploration of Vancouver’s seafood restaurant scene, Michael Shapiro not only thoroughly and thoughtfully explains the timely issues surrounding ocean sustainability and the efforts being made by Vancouver to improve it, but also succeeds in making me very, very hungry for the extraordinary and often unlikely ingredients used by the city’s most talented and conscientious chefs.”

I’ve only been to Vancouver twice, but each trip has been revelatory and I’m hungry to return.

An short version of the story appeared in March 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler and the longer piece, which won the award, appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Inspirato magazine.