The Maine lobster chef of the year competition was held a few days ago at Harvest on the Harbor. Four chefs from Maine, 200 guests, three judges and one crustacean participated in this competition.
The two hour long competition saw some fabulous dishes being made and served to the guests. After the cook-off, the chef from Natalie’s at The Camden Harbor, Chris Long was awarded the coveted crown of Maine’s lobster king. Chris Long prepared butter-poached lobster with grilled local mushrooms, corn and parsnips and thyme butter, which won over the likes of other chefs. The judges and hungry foodies went gaga over this dish and voted it to win the title.
In an atypical twist, Chris Long outdid his boss at Natalie’s, executive chef Jon Gaboric. Other competitors in the Maine lobster chef contest were Shanna O’Hea of Academe at The Kennebunk Inn and Chef Brandon Blethen of Robert’s Maine Grill in Kittery.
One of the judges, Abby Freethy of Northwoods Gourmet Girl in Greenville said that the decision was horrible, difficult to make.
The audiences, who came to taste the Maine’s signature dish, were from as far as Glasgow. They in the end chose the balanced and palatable entree from Chris Long, who was presented with a $1,000 cheque, a new pair of shoes and a chef coat. This title is taken as an honor in growing food world of United States.
Long’s native place is Georgia, which is certainly not popular for lobsters. But, the chef, whose cousin was a lobsterman, has some warm memories of lobster bakes on Cape Cod.
After winning the title, Chris Long said, “My cooking style is let the natural ingredients shine. I’m getting beautiful mushrooms and parsnips, and corn is really juicy and sweet right now. If you use good ingredients you don’t have to do much,” (Source: goo.gl/tXIQ6c).
Long’s competitor, Gaboric was disappointed not to win the title but said that he was very happy for Chris.
Raymond Brunyanszki, the owner of the Inn said that the debutant lobster dishes presented at the contest will be included on the Natalie’s menu in a few days. He was all praise for the Chris Long in his comment, “He did a sensational dish and was able to capture lobster and Maine. I’m proud of him.”
It has been only a year and a half for Chris Long in Maine. He started his professional career helping to open Spread restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland. Prior to coming to Portland, he was a cook in kitchens in San Francisco and Colorado. At present, Long puts up at Lincolnville.
Long, 34, looked surprised by the win the title, said, “It feels good. I like a competition. I’m grateful to be here.”
He will represent the lobster industry as an ambassador for the next year. All the chefs, participating in the contest were of the view that exposure at the event over the last few weeks has helped in boosting sales.
Certainly, these chefs have raised the bar in lobster industry.