Shucks Chef Named '2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year'
Margaret McLellan, corporate chef of Shucks Maine Lobster and Native Maine Produce, was dubbed "2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year" at last night's Governor's Tasting and Cook-Off at the Blaine House in Augusta, Maine.
Hosted by the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, the two-hour event featured five finalists, selected from a record number of entries from across the state.
Picked by a panel of four judges, McLellan's winning dish was Maine Lobster Purse with Wild Maine Complements and Pea Shoot Salad. Every ingredient in McLellan's recipe was produced in Maine.
Zeph Belanger, sous chef at the Hartstone Inn in Camden, Maine, placed second with his Maine Lobster Salad with Ginger, Daikon, Bacon and a Warm Ponzu Dressing.
"Lobster has such a distinct flavor and texture that it's easy to overdress it or overdo it," says Belanger. "I wanted to bring out flavors that complement lobster, not overshadow it."
Pete Murphy, executive chef of the Historic Russell House Restaurant and Tavern Boothbay Harbor, Maine, finished third with his Spring Time Harbor Lobster Tail.
And Lawrence Klang, chef de cuisine at Natalie's Camden Harbour Inn in Camden, captured the People's Choice award for his Tempura of Maine Lobster Tail, Fondue of Local Foraged Mushrooms.
"Lobster lends itself to so many preparations," says Klang.
In fact, all five finalists agree that chefs and consumers across Maine and New England are becoming more adventurous with American lobster, a species that's traditionally steamed or boiled and served with potatoes and coleslaw.
"The climate of the diner has changed," says Joshua Clark, chef de cuisine at Atlantica Restaurant in Camden, who prepared a Hot & Sour Lobster Tail. "The diner expects to be wowed now."