Flipper pie is an established Newfoundland favourite, and baked or roast seal is down-home cooking at its best. The traditional Inuit diet has been long built around on seal and all it offers: meat, blubber, and organs.
But over the past decade, seal meat is being embraced by a wider audience. It is showing up on restaurant menus across Canada with increasing frequency, winning over palates and minds, especially for those committed to eating locally sourced, sustainably harvested ingredients.
Chefs of all levels are becoming more inventive as they embrace this prized game meat. Seal salami and seal burgers are served up in Quebec, the Maritimes, and beyond. Fine-dining presentations of seal tartar, tender seal loin, seal ravioli, and even seal steak are being embraced by restaurant-goers. Edible Canada executive chef Eric Pateman featured seal pappardelle in his 2017 Dine Out Vancouver menu.
Seal meat is dark and rich. It is also lean—seal carry almost all of their fat immediately beneath the skin, not marbled through the meat. Depending on preparation, its taste has been compared to liver or beef, but more accurately to moose and other game meat, crossed with a touch of the ocean. It stands up to hearty and warm spices, pastry, and any manner of cooking styles.
Seal is also rich in protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B12—and, of course, it’s 100% organic, free-range, and hormone-free.
“It’s got a taste of the sea combined with the richness of dark game meat. When you have the freshest product it’s a treat and it just fits with our idea of using local, seasonally available product.”
—Chef Todd Perrin,
“I could eat a steak of seal … Anyone who likes red meat or game will like it.”
—Chef Benoît Lenglet,
Au Cinquième Péché,
“It’s a beautiful, wild, organic and sustainable protein that we have surrounding us … Whether it’s raw or cured, braised or stewed, it’s delicious.”
—Chef Jeremy Charles,