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October 23, 2018

Asian street food inspires winning dish at Maine Lobster Chef of the Year contest

Courtesy / Harvest on the Harbor
Courtesy / Harvest on the Harbor
Avery Richter's winning dish in the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year professionally judged category was a lobster seaweed salad cone with ginger honey vinaigrette crispy wasabi shallots, pickled radish and petite cilantro. The contest was part of the 2018 Harvest on the Harbor festival held last weekend in Portland.

Chef Avery Richter says Asian street helped inspire her winning dish in the 2018 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, held Friday as part of the annual Harvest on the Harbor festival last weekend in Portland.

Richter, 28, executive chef at the Black Tie Co. in Portland, won in the professionally judged category for her lobster seaweed salad cone with ginger honey vinaigrette, crispy wasabi shallots, pickled radish and petite cilantro.

Dana Moos, a cookbook author, inn broker and guest chef cooking instructor at Stonewall Kitchen, was the People's Choice winner, for her lobster crepe, described as a charred scallion crepe topped with butter-poached lobster, smoked truffle aioli, soy glaze and puffed wonton bits.

A total of eight chefs competed, each preparing one part of an eight-course seated luncheon for 310 people plus the judges. All chefs used Shucks Maine Lobster in their dishes.

In a phone interview with Mainebiz on Monday, Richter said she was aiming for both unique flavor and texture.

"I wanted to do something that was a lot of fun … and hit all the taste buds," she said. "I love Asian street food, so I guess that, with a mix of Maine flair for lobster, was my inspiration."

Richter said that while it helped to have the experience of last year's competition, her victory came as a surprise, and she couldn't have done it without her four teammates.

She also said that lobster is a regular ingredient at weddings catered by Black Tie. "Almost every wedding has a touch of lobster, whether as an appetizer or main course," she said.

Harvest on the Harbor, which featured six events, was attended by people from 35 states, including couples who had planned their vacations around it, and a few from abroad, according to the organizers. An overall attendance number was not immediately available.

2018 marked the 11th year for the annual celebration of Maine cuisine. The event is owned and produced by S&G LLC partners Stefanie Manning and Gillian and Jim Britt.

Other contestants and dishes

Here's a list of the six other dishes and chefs who competed for Lobster Chef of the Year in 2018:

  • Bite Into Maine, Scarborough, chef Sarah Sutton, co-owner Bite into Maine: Wasabi lobster roll on fresh-baked bread.
  • Congress Squared, Westin Portland Harborview Hotel, Chef Eli Irland: Organic cauliflower cake, grilled butternut, lobster, petit salad, preserved lemon puree.
  • Fisherman's Wharf Inn, Boothbay Harbor, Chef Stephen Richards: Forkless one bite oak-smoked lobster meatball with Asiago frico tuile, hazelnut Romesco, truffled corn creme and micro chive.
  • Portland Lobster Co., Chef Damon Todd: Beurré Monte poached lobster and urchin over sunchoke puree with uni butter, chive caviar, and sweet corn foam.
  • RiRa, Chef Kevin Soucy: Pastry-wrapped black pudding, lobster stuffed with savory corn panna cotta.
  • Sea Dog Brewing, Chef Alexandra Chilton: Lobster and grilled-corn succotash with smoked paprika crema.

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