Kodiak’s annual Crab Festival kicked off today, bringing with it all the long-time traditions that will occur throughout this weekend. However, as KMXT’s student news intern Marina Cummiskey discovered, a new event is coming to Kodiak this year.
Consider it a cutthroat culinary competition – an edible duel, if you
will. Joining the long list of crab fest activities and entertainment is
Michelle Lebeau runs her own consulting business and
is working with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council to put on a
sustainable seafood “throwdown.” According to her, the event is modeled
after a popular cooking show on the Food Network called Iron Chef. In
the show, two chefs go head-to-head to cook a dish containing a secret
ingredient, which they do not know the identity of until the event
begins. Lebeau says that this year’s secret ingredient will be some kind
of locally-caught seafood.
“They have one hour to cook, prepare, and plate their dishes using
the seafood as the primary ingredient for a panel of local judges who
will then judge the seafood dishes.”
The chefs competing in
the event this year are Chef Laura Cole of the restaurant 229 Parks in
Denali, and local Chef Joel Chenet, owner of Mill Bay Coffee and Bakery.
Chenet says he has participated in events like this in the past, the
most recent competition occurring four years ago in Monterey,
California. Chenet’s past experience will help him, but as far as
preparation for this throwdown goes, he can do nothing.
“When I did it in Monterey in
California, we had black cod, and I did three different dishes of black
cod, this time I have no idea what they’re going to give us.”
“So, you know, it’s like some
mystery basket, we don’t know what the ingredients are, and we have one
hour to do five servings, and we’ll go from scratch, and go as fast as
we can to make it.”
While the chef off event is new in
Kodiak, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council has put on similar
throwdowns in the past. Lebeau said if this weekend’s event is well
recieved there is hope for another competition in Kodiak next year.
“This is the first time we’re doing
this type of event at crab fest; there have been previous seafood
throwdown competitions that Alaska Marine Conservation Council has done
in partnership with other organizations in Anchorage, and the
sustainable seafood throwdown model is something that is quite popular
on the East Coast. Hopefully, if it goes well, I think we would be
interested in doing it again next year. ”
competing are Senator Gary Stevens, local fisherman Terry Haines, and
pediatric dietitian Heather Preece.
winner of the throwdown will go on to compete in the Great Alaska
Seafood Cookoff in Anchorage in September. The Sustainable Seafood
Throwdown will be held on the mainstage of the Midway Saturday from 2
until 4 p.m.