Meet the Fish Valet at Fairmont Vancouver Airport

Planning a journey to one of the world famous Canadian fishing lodges in British Columbia? Rest easy on the return trip knowing that your prize catch will be well taken care of by the Fish Valet at Fairmont Vancouver Airport. Upon arrival fish are “checked-in” to a 575-cubic foot freezer, where it will be safely stored and watched over until guests are ready to depart.


Who are the Fish Valet and why are they at Fairmont Vancouver Airport?

Fishing excursion companies and fishing lodges in British Columbia receive a majority of their tourism business during the months of June through August, and due to the seasonality of this industry, Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s fish valet position is assigned to members of the bell staff team each year, following proper training on how to handle and store a fresh catch.

The hotel’s resident expert on fish storage is Harvey Makasa, who has overseen the fish freezer since 2013. Harvey’s life-long career in hospitality has allowed him to meet people from around the world, and he has always enjoyed getting to know each guest and connecting with them to deliver a memorable experience. His assignment to the fish valet role at Fairmont Vancouver Airport was initially based on scheduling availability, but over time, Harvey has become well known as the go-to “keeper of the catch” for guests who return year after year. He celebrates when a prized Pacific Halibut comes through the doors, and provides a shoulder to lean on for those who share stories of the one that got away.

Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s fish valets are organized, detail-oriented and strong. They coordinate the arrival and departure of up to 200lbs of fish per guest, ensuring every catch is properly labeled, stored, and handled with great care. A passion for eating the prized seafood is also an asset, and the fish valets are happy to serve as a direct line to the culinary team for tips on preparation.


From Sea to Table: Top 5 Tips from the Fish Valet

  1. CHILL your catch in ice from the moment its caught until its stored. Use an insulated cooler and drain the ice water regularly to avoid the water spoiling the flavour of the fish.
  2. CLEAN your fish as soon as possible to preserve freshness and flavour. As long as your fish is kept whole and under ice, it can be kept for up to 1 day before cleaning is required.
  3. REFRIGERATE is possible once the fish has been washed in cold water, dried, and wrapped in wax paper, plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Remember that refrigeration is best for no more than 2 days and your larger pieces of fish will keep better than smaller ones.
  4. FREEZE your fish … this will allow it to last between 3 and 12 months and using vacuum sealed, freezer safe bags to store your fish will ensure optimum freshness.
  5. THAW fish by placing it in the refrigerator overnight or placing the wrapped fish in a cold water bath until fully thawed.
  6. BONUS TIP: BBQ using Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s secret BBQ spice rub


Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s (Not So Secret) Secret BBQ Spice Rub

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Season generously onto your latest catch. Open your favorite summer beverage and relax while you allow the fish to absorb flavors for at least 3-5 minutes before cooking. Best served with sunshine and good company.


Additional charges apply for use of the fish valet service. For more information please contact us at +1 604 270 5200 or [email protected]

ice bucket of fish
fairmont employee holding a fish outside of fairmont vancouver airport
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