Cooking with the Chef: Ned Bell: Halibut Cheeks

Chef Ned Bell shows off the final dish. Photos by Anya Levykh


Chef Ned Bell has always been a loud proponent of the sustainable seafood movement, so it was no surprise that when he took over the executive chef position at The Four Seasons’ Yew Restaurant in Vancouver, he began to reimagine the menu with a sustainable bent. Last month, on World Oceans Day, Bell took the final step and, officially re-launched Yew as a fully Ocean Wise-certified, seafood-centric restaurant.


Chef Bell was kind enough to give me a quick cooking lesson using a particularly delicious form of sustainable seafood – halibut cheeks. If you haven’t given these a chance yet, then get thee to a fishmonger, stat! Halibut cheeks have a lovely, fatty richness, but are also slightly firmer in texture than, say, black cod, so they stand up to a little sauce or being mixed into a stir-fry.


For this recipe, Chef uses a lemon olive oil he infused himself. You can infuse your own oil at home quite easily, or just add a few squeezes of lemon to the cheeks after they are done, while still in the pan, and nap the lemon juice over them along with the oil.


PS. A little butter thrown in with the oil adds an extra hit of richness to the cheeks!


Pan Seared Halibut Cheeks

Asparagus, radishes, chick peas, lemon olive oil

Kale Chips


This recipe is very simple, and could be substituted with scallops, spot prawns, or really, any other fish or seafood.


Kale Chips

For the Kale Chips:


Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F. Tear the kale into bite size pieces, toss in olive oil, season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until light golden brown and crispy.





Try finishing the vegetables with a little flat-leaf parsley

For the Sauté:



1 cup diced asparagus

1 cup chick peas

1/2 cup quartered red radishes

1 tbsp diced shallots


In a medium-sized fry pan, sauté the shallots, chick peas, diced asparagus and radishes together for a few minutes, until tender but with no extra colour.


Napping the cheeks

For the Halibut Cheeks:


2-3 cheeks per person

Season the halibut cheeks with sea salt and cracked pepper.

In a pan over high heat, sauté the cheeks in olive oil for 1 minute per side.


*Chef Bell gives the cheeks a little napping (spooning the oil over the fish) while they rest in the pan for a few seconds.


Serve immediately.


To Serve:


Place the veggies on a plate or platter, lay the cheeks on top and arrange the kale chips around.


YEW restaurant + bar

791 West Georgia Street
, Vancouver, BC, Canada

604.692.4939 (4YEW)
at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver




Written By:

Anya Levykh was born on the shores of the Black Sea, in what was formerly the USSR. The cold, Communist winters were too much for her family, and, before she was four feet tall, they had left for warmer climes in the south of ...

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