East Coast Seafood, St. James Smokehouse win 2019 Seafood Excellence Awards
East Coast Seafood won the 2019 “Best New Foodservice” Seafood Excellence Award for its Lobster Macaroni & Cheese Bites, and St. James Smokehouse was awarded the “Best New Retail” prize for its Saint Pure Salmon at Seafood Expo North America on Sunday, 17 March.
Topsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based East Coast Seafood is the world’s largest distributor of live and frozen North American lobster. Its Lobster Macaroni & Cheese Bites, designed for the foodservice industry, are a creamy mixture of macaroni and a blend of Parmesan, asiago, and mozzarella cheeses, with in a crunchy golden-brown coating. The appetizers are produced without preservatives or artificial flavors, and are designed to be deep-fried at the restaurant level.
“It was a complete surprise, we’re extremely excited about it, and proud," East Coast Seafood Vice President of Marketing Garrett Digney told SeafoodSource. "It’s been a great team effort for the item, and we’re extremely happy.”
Annan, Scotland and Miami, Florida, U.S.A.-based St. James Smokehouse produces a variety of smoked salmon products. Its Saint Pure Salmon is made with fresh Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified sushi-grade salmon. It is hand-cured with sea salt and brown sugar, and contains a smoke profile of light fruity notes crafted by smoking with locally-sourced Florida orange and grapefruit wood. The product is free of growth hormones, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors, and is sliced vertically, sashimi-style, creating bite-sized portions.
"We’re confident in the product that we’ve created," St. James Smokehouse co-owner Brendan Maher told SeafoodSource. "Everything is done in-house - everything from the brand name, the trademark, the packaging, the concept, the Florida orangewood, the Florida grapefruit wood, it’s all our brain-child."
The winners were selected from a group of finalists during a live judging on Sunday morning by a panel of seafood buyers and industry experts from the retail and foodservice industries. This year’s judges included Ben Newlin, senior culinary operations specialist for The Cheesecake Factory; Mark Hogan, director of center of the plate with SGC Foodservice; and Josanna Busby, category manager, seafood, sidecase, frozen meats and seafood for Food Lion.
Finalists were previously selected through a screening of products participating in the Seafood Expo North America New Product Showcase. The showcase features seafood products, condiments, and culinary dishes launched in the past year by companies exhibiting at Seafood Expo North America. Products were judged based on several criteria, including uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.
St. James Smokehouse is located at Booth #1642 and East Coast Seafood Booth is located at Booth #123 at the 2019 Seafood Expo North America.