Boothbay Harbor, Maine (August 13, 2013)—For the second year in a row, 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 culinary Chamber fund-raiser will take place on September 19 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ocean Point Marina, East Boothbay. Four hundred lobster lovers will enjoy savory lobster bites and vote on the People's Choice Awards while sampling a selection of wines from Central Distributors. Before the doors open to the public 19 chefs will present their prize-worthy bites in a blind judging competition before 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 the Lobster Chef of the Year, Chef Kerry Altiero from Cafe Miranda in Rockland; 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.”
"We are excited to host the 2nd Annual Claw Down® because this event brings the community together by not only promoting and supporting our talented chefs in the area but also supporting our local lobster industry," said Catherine Wygant Fossett, Executive Director of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce. “The Claw Down® sold out at the beautiful historic Opera House last year, but in an effort to double the capacity for the most discerning lobster fanatics the venue has been moved to the Ocean Point Marina.”
Last year a portion of the proceeds from the First Annual Claw Down® supported the Boothbay Region Community Resource Group. This year 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. Fossett adds, “The economic impact was impressive….17 restaurant owners and chefs purchased approximately 200 pounds of shucked lobster from local lobster wharves to make their delectable lobster bites last year. With close to 200 pounds of lobster purchased and 200 tickets sold, the total regional economic impact to the Boothbay Harbor Region’s lobster industry for just the Claw Down® event was over $33,750.”
For the second consecutive year, the Chamber is partnering with the Maine Lobster Promotion Council. The Claw Down® will help the Chamber in its efforts to bolster local businesses; serve as guardians of the region’s economic well-being; advocate on behalf of area businesses; and promote avenues of tourism for the communities of Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, East Boothbay, Edgecomb, Monhegan, Newcastle, Southport, Westport, Wiscasset, and Woolwich.
At the First Annual 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. Jones' winning bite was a polenta and truffle lobster bite, fresh lobster meat served over a sun-dried tomato and polenta cake, finished with lobster sauce and truffle oil. Chef Fiona Dunlap of the Newagen Seaside Inn & Restaurant was voted as the People's Choice Award winner. Dunlap's bite was a petite corn cake topped with native corn puree, Maine lobster, butter sauce and candied tarragon.
“Claw Down® is a gourmet lobster lover’s dream event,” says Cherie Scott, Member Services and Event Manager. “You get to meet all these talented chefs under one roof, eat all the handcrafted lobster bites you can and enjoy the finest wine from Central Distributors …you can literally feel a foodie buzz in the room!”
This year’s participating restaurants and Chefs in the "Claw Down®" include:
1. Boathouse Bistro & Tapas Bar, Chef & co-owner Karin Guerin, www.theboathousebistro.com
2. Boothbay Harbor Country Club, Executive Chef Geoff Cornell, www.boothbayharborcc.com
3. Boothbay Lobster Wharf, Chef Kosta Rigas, www.boothbaylobsterwharf.com
4. Brown’s Wharf , Chef Micah Jones, www.brownswharfinn.com
5. Eventide Specialties, Chef & co-owner Kim Martin, www.eventidespecialties.com
6. Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Chef John Reed, www.fishermanshwarfinn.com
7. Kaler’s Restaurant, Chef & co-owner Sam Kaler, www.kalers.com
8. McSeagull’s Restaurant, Chef & co-owner Ralph Smith, www.mcseagullsonline.com
9. Newagen Seaside Inn, Chef Fiona Dunlap, www.newagenseasideinn.com
10. Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor Wharf, Chef Stacy McLellan, www.oliversrestaurant.com
11. Ports of Italy, Chef Fabrizio Ventricini, www.portsofitaly.com
12. Robinson’s Wharf & Tugs Pub, Chef Jason Chamness, www.robinsons-wharf.com
13. The Lobster Dock, Chef & co-owner Mitch Weiss, www.thelobsterdock.com
14. The Rocktide Inn & Restaurant, Chef Joe Pinkham, www.rocktideinn.com
15. The Thistle Inn, Chef Michael Whitney, www.thethistleinn.com
16. The World Is Mine Oyster, Chef Steve Richards, www.mineoyster.net
17. The World Is Mine Oyster – Sushi, Chef Harrison Maung, www.mineoyster.com
18. Tugboat Inn & Restaurant, Chef Mike Ham, www.tugboatinn.com
19. 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 for the Claw Down®. Tickets are $60.00 and can be purchased online on August 15th 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 parking from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. A special appearance by Red Claws Mascot Crusher, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats, will add to the excitement of the evening along with a total transformation of the boatyard by the Boothbay Region Greenhouses and Greg Powers Agency. If you are interested in volunteering at the Claw Down®, please contact Cherie Scott, Member Services & Events Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Chamber at 207-633-2353.
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, BIG 104FM Blueberry Broadcasting, Marshalls 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, Greg Powers Agency, Ted Axelrod Photography, Harbor Embroidery, Channel 7- BRCTV, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Lincoln Arts Festival, Martin Page, Country Coach Charters and NEMA Northeast Media Associates. ###