By Melissa Wood, SeaFood Business assistant editor
Published on 25 February, 2013
With Alaska seafood as their main ingredient, entrants in the Alaska Symphony of Seafood new-product contest already face a formidable group of competitors. To win, they must stand out as something special — and delicious — in a sea of greatness.
“We had some really cool products this year and the judges had a difficult job,” says Jim Browning with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, organizer and sponsor of the annual contest.
But the panel of judges, who include industry chefs and experts, were able to pick a winner: Copper River Seafoods took home the grand prize for its Zesty Grill Sockeye Salmon. The product also took home the first-place prize for new retail product as well as the Anchorage People’s Choice Award.
Copper River’s big win was announced at the Award Ceremony and Gala Soirée held on 23 February in Anchorage. Other winners announced at the gala included Triad Fisheries, which won first place in foodservice for its Alaskan Sablefish Unagi Style, and AquaCuisine, which won in the smoked product category for its Lit'l Sammies.
Along with the recognition, first-place winners from each category received free booth space at the International Boston Seafood Show, as well as airfare to and from the event.
Preceding the Anchorage gala, the Symphony held a New Products Judging and Reception on 13 February in the Palace Ballroom in Seattle. There, attendees voted for Triad’s Alaskan Sablefish Unagi Style to win the Seattle People’s Choice Award.
2013 marks the 20th year of the Alaska Symphony of Seafood, a contest with the stated goal of “Inspiring better use of Alaska’s natural seafood resource” by enabling food manufacturers to introduce new and innovative value-added seafood product to the market.
Judges this year included Brian O’Connor, chef for Skillet Diner and Skillet Street Food; Jason Wilson, chef for Crush; Tomi Marsh, author of “The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook”; restaurant consultant Jake Kosseff; Tony Catini, chef at Serious Pie; Charles Benton from Sysco; Dezi Bonow, chef for Palace Kitchen; Cynthia Nims of the blog Mon Appétit; and Molly Hancock from FareStart.