For the second straight year, the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce has issued a Claw Down for local chefs, challenging them to come up with the best lobster bite for the title of the 2013 Claw Down Lobster Bite Chef of the Year: Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice.
This signature chamber fundraiser will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19 at Ocean Point Marina, East Boothbay. The marina will be transformed, thanks to the Greg Powers Agency and Boothbay Region Greenhouses, into a venue with nautically accented up-lighting and decor, music and a giant screen to feature Claw Down highlights. Proceeds from the event will help to underwrite the cost of Claw Down with a stipend to each participating restaurant to help cover the cost of lobster.
More than 400 lobster-lovers will enjoy savory lobster bites (using 475 pounds of locally shucked lobster) and vote on the People’s Choice Award while sampling a selection of wines from Central Distributors. Attendees already registered are from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, Ohio, New York, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana and California — and of course, Maine.
“Last year, the regional economic impact on the lobster industry just for Claw Down was $34,000,” said Catherine Wygant Fossett, executive director of the Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce. “This year we expect an even larger impact as we’ve doubled the size of the event.”
Before the doors open to the public, 19 chefs will present their prize-worthy bites in a blind judging competition to industry-renowned experts who will decide the winner of the Judge’s Choice title based on presentation, originality and taste. A first, second and third place will be awarded in both the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice categories at the end of the night.
Michele Ragussis, chef at The Pearl restaurant in Rockland and a finalist in the Food Network show, “The Next Food Network Star” and “Chopped,” will emcee the event. Judges will include Lobster Chef of the Year Kerry Altiero from Cafe Miranda in Rockland; Rockland’s Lynn Archer, a.k.a. The Queen of Clubs, owner of Archer’s on the Pier and the Brass Compass Cafe and winner of the “Lobster Dekkah” challenge on the Food Network Show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”; and Sandy Oliver, Maine food historian, Bangor Daily News food columnist and author of “Maine Home Cooking.”
At the first Claw Down, Chef Micah Jones of Brown’s Wharf Inn received the Judge’s Choice Award in a blind judging competition for the Claw Down Chef of the Year. Chef Fiona Dunlap of the Newagen Seaside Inn & Restaurant was voted as the People’s Choice Award winner. Dunlap’s honor earned her an appearance WCHS’s “207” televised news magazine program.
This year’s participating restaurants and Chefs in the “Claw Down” include:
- Boathouse Bistro & Tapas Bar, Chef & co-owner Karin Guerin, www.theboathousebistro.com
- Boothbay Harbor Country Club, Executive Chef Geoff Cornell, www.boothbayharborcc.com
- Boothbay Lobster Wharf, Chef Kostas Rigas, www.boothbaylobsterwharf.com
- Brown’s Wharf, Chef Micah Jones, www.brownswharfinn.com
- Eventide Specialties, Chef & co-owner Kim Martin, www.eventidespecialties.com
- Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Chef John Reed, www.fishermanshwarfinn.com
- Kaler’s Restaurant, Chef & co-owner Sam Kaler, www.kalers.com
- McSeagull’s Restaurant, Chef & co-owner Ralph Smith, www.mcseagullsonline.com
- Newagen Seaside Inn, Chef Fiona Dunlap, www.newagenseasideinn.com
- Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor Wharf, Chef Stacy McLellan, www.oliversrestaurant.com
- Ports of Italy, Chef Fabrizio Ventricini, www.portsofitaly.com
- Robinson’s Wharf & Tugs Pub, Chef Jason Chamness, www.robinsons-wharf.com
- The Lobster Dock, Chef & co-owner Mitch Weiss, www.thelobsterdock.com
- The Rocktide Inn & Restaurant, Chef Joe Pinkham, www.rocktideinn.com
- The Thistle Inn, Chef Tony Bickford, www.thethistleinn.com
- The World Is Mine Oyster, Chef Steve Richards, www.mineoyster.net
- The World Is Mine Oyster – Sushi, Chef Harrison Maung, www.mineoyster.com
- Tugboat Inn & Restaurant, Chef Mike Ham, www.tugboatinn.com
- Windows on the Harbor, Chef Patrick Jones, www.boothbayharborinn.com
What makes this event more than just a competition is that it provides attendees an opportunity to eat, stay and play in the region after the Claw Down. Various chamber members are posting “Hot Deals” with special pricing, promotions and lodging packages on the Chamber’s websites directly tied into Claw Down. Check out the Chamber’s website for the latest listings and specials at www.boothbayharbor.com.
Cocktail attire is suggested. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased online by visiting Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce (www.boothbayharbor.com) or by calling 207-633-2353. A complimentary Country Coach Charter shuttle will be available for those attendees parking at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Hodgdon Yachts and Washburn & Doughty.
Presenting sponsors include the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, Maine Magazine and the Brand Company, BDN Maine, Central Distributors, Boothbay Region Greenhouses, Ocean Point Marina along with the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, Ames True Value Supply, Tindal & Callahan Real Estate, BIG 104FM Blueberry Broadcasting, Marshall Tent and Event Rental, Tile Connection, Stone Cove Catering, US. Foods, The Hodgdon Island Inn, Topside Inn, Flagship Inn & Suites, The Inns at Greenleaf Lane, Dead River Company, Greg Powers Agency, Ted Axelrod Photography, Harbor Embroidery, Channel 7-BRCTV, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Hodgdon Yachts, Washburn & Doughty Associates, Lincoln Arts Festival, Martin Page, Country Coach Charters and NEMA Northeast Media Associates.