From seafood culinary presentations to the annual crab cake cook-off to a panel discussion on the benefits and risks of seafood, there will be an ocean of seafood at Coast Day. Coast Day will be held on Sunday, October 3, rain or shine, at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies campus in Lewes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Under the seafood tent, the fifteenth annual crab cake cook-off will begin at 11 a.m. Don’t miss the excitement as the eight finalists prepare their recipe in their quest to make “Delaware’s Best Crab Cakes.”
“The recipes, including the titles, are always creative,” says Doris Hicks, seafood specialist with the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of all the seafood-related activities at Coast Day. “This year, we have titles ranging from ‘Presidential Crab Cakes’ to ‘Creamy “Crab-Brie” Crab Cakes.’ It will be fun to see if the finalists decorate their tables or use garnishes that tie in with these names.”
Judging takes place at noon, and the winners will be announced at 1 p.m. The judges will be Cheryl Tilton, chef and owner of Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant and Bar in Lewes, Delaware, and first-place winner in last year’s cook-off; Robert Collette, vice president of science and technology at the National Fisheries Institute; and Richard Steele, from Café Azafran in Lewes.
Culinary presentations will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the Pilot Room of the Virden Center. First on the menu is Guy Simmons, a certified clam chef for Mid-Atlantic Foods, Inc., in Pocomoke City, Maryland. He will show that clams can be used in a variety of ways in “Clams: Not Just for Chowder Anymore.”
At 1 p.m., Bert Adams, operator of Hook ’em and Cook ’em at the Indian River Marina in Delaware Seashore State Park, will demonstrate how to fillet fish for cooking in his presentation “How to Fillet Fish.” Nancy Chirdon, owner and operator of Nancy’s Riverfront Café and Catering, will prepare the final course at 2:15 p.m. She will demonstrate a new twist to an old favorite in her presentation, “Making the Perfect Seafood Pizza.”
This year, Hicks also will moderate a panel discussion on seafood and health in the Harbor Room of the Virden Center. The panel, “Assessing the Benefits and Risks of Seafood,” will begin at 2:30 p.m. First, Richard Greene, an environmental engineer with the Watershed Assessment Section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Water Resources, will explain how fish consumption advisories are issued for Delaware waters.
He will be followed by Robert Collete, vice president of science and technology at the National Fisheries Institute, who will talk about the industry’s view on the current advisories; and Sue Snider, a food and nutritional specialist with UD Cooperative Extension, who will speak about the nutritional benefits of eating seafood.
The annual Seafood Chowder Challenge features a friendly competition between the First State Chefs Association and the Delmarva Chefs and Cooks Association. Visitors will be invited to sample a 2-ounce portion of each association’s chowder and then vote for their favorite. Clams, donated by Seawatch International in Milford, Delaware, will be the featured seafood in this year’s chowders.
Be sure to bring your appetite — a large variety of seafood will be available for purchase including crab cakes, seafood soups and chowders, and crab-cake and soft-shell crab sandwiches. Seafood vendors will include the Beach House, Fast Freddys, First State Chefs Association, Greenwood Lions Club, Jakes Seafood House and Restaurant, Mid-Atlantic Foods, Inc., Nancy’s Riverfront Café and Catering, Oertel Catering Company, and Sherri’s Crab Cakes. Non-seafood items also will be available.
Admission to this educational and fun-filled event is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the UD Marine Public Education Office at (302) 831-8083, or visit the Coast Day Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu/CoastDay.