From seafood culinary presentations to the annual crab cake cook-off, Coast Day will be afloat with tasty seafood delights. Sponsored by the College of Marine Studies and Delaware Sea Grant, Coast Day will be held on Sunday, October 2, rain or shine, at the University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Under the seafood tent, the sixteenth 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."
Judging takes place at noon, and the winners will be announced at 1 p.m. The judges will be Erica Culbert, a resident of Philadelphia and the first-place winner in last year's cook-off; Chris Bisaha, a partner in FINS Fish House and Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach; and Reed Hellman, a freelance author who writes a monthly "food adventures" column that reaches 250,000 readers.
Culinary presentations will begin at noon in the Pilot Room of the Virden Center. First on the menu is Nancy Chirdon, owner and operator of Nancy's Riverfront Café and Catering in Milford. She will show that seafood and cheese go hand-in-hand in her demonstration "Pairing Seafood and Cheese the Mediterranean Way."
At 1:30 p.m., Robert A. LoFurno, a certified executive chef and district executive chef at the University of Delaware, will incorporate fish into a classic favorite in his presentation "Hawaiian Opah Bruschetta." The final item on the agenda will be a surprise taste treat prepared at 3:00 p.m. by Matt Haley, chef and owner of Fish On! in Lewes, and Jay Caputo, a chef at Espuma Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach as they conduct a lively and informative discussion in their presentation "Seafood Chat."
"This year, we are very excited to have three outstanding seafood seminars," 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. "Nancy Chirdon is back again this year to talk about her new venture into the world of cheeses and how it works so well with seafood; UD's own Robert LoFurno will delight you with Hawaiian Opah Bruschetta; and Matt Haley and Jay Caputo, who have been entertaining local audiences with their 'Food Chat' at Booksandcoffee all year round, have agreed to do a 'Seafood Chat' for Coast Day."
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.
Don't forget to bring your appetite -- a large variety of seafood also 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 Restaurant in Lewes, First State Chefs Association of Wilmington, Jakes Seafood House and Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, and Sherri's Crab Cakes. Non-seafood items also will be available.
A number of businesses and industries are sponsoring special exhibits and events at Coast Day, including AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, in Wilmington; Conectiv in Salisbury, Maryland; the Cape Gazette in Lewes; Maritrans Operating Company in Philadelphia; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, DC; and Sunoco, Inc., in Philadelphia.
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.