An opportunity for cultural exchange and learning through food, that's how On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson describes the experience of Vancouver chef Andrea Carlson, who was chosen to take part in a journey through the Northwest Passage. 

Carlson, owner and chef at Vancouver's Burdock and Co. joined the 10th leg of the Canada C3 journey, travelling aboard the MV Polar Princess icebreaker from Cambridge Bay to Kugluktuk in Nunavut. 

The expedition is a signature project for Canada's 150th birthday, which invited remarkable Canadians to sail for parts of a 150 day journey from Toronto to Victoria. 

Andrea Carlson

Vancouver chef Andrea Carlson cooked Arctic fare aboard an ice breaker travelling the Northwest Passage. (Allison Kuhl)

Johnson said Carlson, who is well known for her 100-Mile menu, which focuses on local food sourcing, was tasked with making two dinners for the entire crew with no idea what food she would have access to.

For her first meal, Carlson pan fried wild Arctic char and served it with corn risotto. Johnson said the fish, which was in peak season is one of the chef's favourites due to its richness and delicate flavour. 

On the last night of her voyage, Carlson used the blueberry like crowberry to cure some more Arctic char, and served it with an Arctic sorrel salad. The chef also used the subtly sweet crowberries to make a tart like, galette pastry for dessert. 

One of the themes of the trip is reconciliation, which Carlson told Johnson can only come from building personal connections. She said she teamed up with an Inuit leader to make pan-fried bannock one day.