Seafood lovers, come on down to Lewes, Del., that is! On Sunday, October 4, the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS) will host its 22nd annual Coast Day marine festival. The schedule is packed with activities sure to keep your mouth watering, from our annual Crab Cake Cook-Off to a new Chef's Seafood Chowder Challenge.
According to Doris Hicks, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service seafood technology specialist, chowders are chunky, hearty soups that are so full of good things that they sometimes are more like stews than soups. Many chowders are simply cream soups or soups that are left chunky rather than pured. Like other specialty regional soups, chowders resist being categorized, Hicks says. However, most of them are based on fish or shellfish and vegetables, and most contain potatoes and milk or cream.
This event is a friendly challenge between the First State Chef's Association and the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association to come up with the best seafood chowder recipe as voted upon by visitors to Coast Day, Hicks explains. Clams, which have been donated by Sea Watch International, will be the featured seafood for this first year's challenge.
Hicks says the public will sample 2-ounce portions of the chowders before casting their votes. After the votes are tallied, she will announce a winner as well as the featured seafood for next year's Chowder Challenge. A traveling trophy is designed for the winner of this event.
Beginning at noon, visitors can watch local chefs work their seafood magic in a series of culinary presentations. Chef Robert Davis, from Phillips by the Sea in Ocean City, Md., will make seafood tortillas with mango salsa. Davis was voted chef of the year by the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association. At 1 p.m. Joseph Piane, president of the First State Chef's Association and executive chef, Piane Caterers, Wilmington, will demonstrate how to garnish the fruits of the sea. Ed Hennessy, chef instructor at Delaware Technical and Community College in Stanton and board member and past-president of the First State Chef's Association, will focus on grilled cedar-planked fish at 2 p.m.. The presentations will conclude at 3 p.m. when chef Andy Hollenbach, from the Galaxy Restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, shares his out-of-this-world calamari cuisine.
The Crab Cake Cook-Off will feature eight finalists, chosen from entries received from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. Coast Day visitors will be able to watch the contestants prepare their recipes and sample a morsel or two. Judging takes place at noon, with winners announced at 1 p.m. This year's panel of three judges will include Cherry Barranco, last year's first place winner. The top prize includes $150, a plaque, and the opportunity to be a judge at next year's competition.
Plenty of seafood will be available for purchase from local vendors. LeCates will offer fresh lobsters; the Lewes Crab House will be selling crab cakes and other specialties. Grotto Pizza will be back with shrimp pizza. Wings to Go is preparing Buffalo Shrimp; and the Road Runner Cafe will prepare seafood fajitas. The Lamp Post Restaurant, North Bethany Fish and Gourmet Market, and Hollys Restaurant will also be selling a variety of seafood.
Coast Day takes place from11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, October 4, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus of the University of Delaware, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. For a complete schedule of activities, please consult the program provided upon your arrival at Coast Day. Admission to the event is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the Marine Communications Office at (302) 831-8083 or the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346. Or visit our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.