Calling all chefs — It’s that time of year to put your best original lobster dish recipe down on paper. The Maine Lobster Council announced today that it is now accepting submissions for its Annual Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition.
The Lobster Chef Competition is a roll-up-your-sleeves cook-off that is part of the Harvest on the Harbor Festival celebrated in Portland, Maine in late October. When you add “bold and innovative” to “fresh and local,” you’ve described the spirit of the event, according to festival organizers. All recipes must be original and include Maine Lobster. And based on past submissions, these folks do not fool around.
A quick reading of past recipes is enough to bring both cooks and seafood lovers to their feet with a cheer.
|2010 Winner Lobster Tail Arugula (Source: Maine Lobster Council)
|The 2010 winning recipe was Herb Grilled Maine Lobster Tail on Arugula with Chive Ricotta Gnocchi &Corn Milk. The recipe was from Chef Kelly Patrick Farrin from the Azure Café in Freeport, Maine. At Azure, Chef Farrin boasts creative Italian cuisine using fresh Maine Lobster and other local ingredients. Farrin was educated at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Essex, Vermont.
The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2011, and must include a written original recipe and photo of the dish. Judges will select the finalists and there will be a $1,000 prize to the winner of the cook-off.
The Maine Lobster Council promotes the cook-off as part of the larger event sponsored by the Portland Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The finalists will compete for the title before an audience of 200 lobster enthusiasts, journalists and industry representatives. The audience will watch each of the chefs demonstrate their recipes, taste a sample of each and will vote for their favorite.
Last year, more than 5,000 people attended the three day event. But if you are not planning on being in Maine for the festival, well perhaps a little of Maine can come to you to help out you out with your own favorite lobster recipe.
“No matter where the cook calls home, fresh Maine lobster is the key ingredient to all winning lobster recipes,” said Wayne Howe, manager of the LobsterOnline web site. “Since 1997 we have been providing chefs of all types, from Boston to Hawaii, with live lobster and New England seafood. From our docks and facilities in Maine and Cape Cod, we can ship to chefs everywhere.”
“Simply order today by 2:30 p.m. and live lobster can be at your door the next day,” Howe said. “That will help to make all chefs winners.”
People often ask what a Maine lobster fishing port is like. Picturesque, quaint, and as if you are referring to Machiasport, older than America itself. Machiasport, Maine is a popular tourist destination about an hour from Canada and a historic seaport, dating back to 1663.
The Machias Bay area — Machias and Machiasport — had a rough beginning, even by Maine standards. The settlers saw buildings sacked three times during its early history. Once by the French trying to kick the English out of Northern Maine, and later by the British during the Revolutionary War, and again during the War of 1812.
Lobster boats return to Machiasport, ME. facility at end of day.
The legendary June 1775 Naval Battle of Machias was the first naval battle of the fight for independence and led to the capture of a British schooner, the HMS Margaretta. A small group of settlers, having attacked the British schooner by both land and from the coastal sloop Unity, were able to overcome the British and capture the ship. Later in the war the British returned to burn parts of the town, though they were quickly chased back out to sea by the Militia. The area was attacked by a British Fleet again in 1814 and the fort destroyed a second time. Later, the federal government rebuilt the fort during the Civil War, but no shots were ever fired. Fort O’Brien, as it is called, now belongs to the state.
With a population of about 1,100 people, Machiasport today is far more peaceful than its legendary past and is best known for its historical taverns, charming bed and breakfasts and its seafood, especially lobster. And of course, its lobster fishermen.
The Lobster Trap Company operates four pounds and two buying stations located in Machiasport and Steuben Maine, providing access to 4,000,000 pounds of product. These subsidiaries are known as BBS Lobster Trap. In addition, the company operates numerous storage facilities throughout Canada providing holding capacities in excess of 2,000,000 pounds making orders of ANY SIZE possible.
The retail online web service leverages the high wholesale volume to provide customers with fresh, select grade, hard shell lobster that are strong and healthy. This ensures that only the very best lobster make the trip across the country to a customers front door. Since Lobster Trap buys direct from the fishermen, there are no middlemen. The result is the best quality, price and service found anywhere online.
Is Lobster the food of Romantics on Valentine’s Day? According to a recent Harris poll of more than 1,000 adults, the answer is a resounding “yes. “
More than 42 percent of adults responded that they consider Valentines Day lobster the most romantic of all meals.
A spokesman was quoted by the study explaining that “Lobster is the perfect dish for a Romantic, or Special Occasion dinner out. It is an exotic delicacy that results in an intimate moment between loved ones because Lobster is hand-held and shareable. Shellfish, especially lobster, is a catalyst for connection like no other food.”
Oysters are delicacies that are also traditionally served as part of a romantic Valentine’s Day meal. Oysters are thought to be aphrodisiacs in many cultures. Perhaps that is why these delicate shellfish are the perfect choice for Valentines Day dinners. Raw oysters on the half shell with ice cold champagne makes the perfect appetizer.
Tradition holds that on this most amorous of holidays, lovers often enjoy two or three freshly prepared live lobster or a jumbo — four pounds or larger lobster — can be shared. Also popular as a main dish is split, grilled lobster tails.
Avoid the Rush and Stay Home Valentine’s Day
So while everyone else is fighting for reservations, trying to park, waiting for their table and getting rushed by the waiter, just say “No.” Instead, enjoy a Valentine dinner at home with a love fest of the best lobster and oysters in the world: the Maine Lobster and New England Oysters. Today live lobster can be shipped overnight right from Maine to anywhere in the United States. So take advantage and Cupid will be proud.