Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd annual Great Alaska Seafood Cook-off hosted by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Industry. Four professional chefs, four cooking stations, one box of mystery produce and one hour to whip something up impressive enough to beat everyone else. The pressure was on, but then so were these chefs. 

The mystery ingredients included a whole salmon, celery root and kale, all Alaskan grown. The ingredients could be used in any combination as long as each of them was used. It was a rather loud and noisy crowd so deciphering what each chef was making or plating for judges was darn near impossible. And I may have been busy noshing on the amazing seafood spread that graced the room. 

I did happen to hear what the winning entry was though, a pan seared salmon fillet with wild mushroom tea atop braised kale and celery root. 

The winning chef was Travis Haugen from Southside Bistro in Anchorage and he’ll go on to the World Food Championships in Las Vegas next month. Chef Haugen was the only chef who worked completely alone and yet his station exuded an aura of calm self assurance that I can’t even pull of when making simple routine dinners for 3 very indiscriminate eaters. Well done Chef Haugen!

Thanks for invite Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, this event just keeps getting better and better.