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June 23, 2009

Maine Lobster Chef McLellan: “Bring It On!” (Conclusion)

Day Two: The five finalists were announced. Among them, Texas, Maryland, and of course the favored son of New Orleans, who was now representing Mississippi, John Currence. Chef Currence, on day one, had sauntered in wearing ripped jeans, cowboy boots, and a seriously wrinkled chef jacket. Day two, he at least wore an ironed jacket but I somehow knew he was not be underestimated.

The rest of us ten non-finalists would cook for the press and audience to sample. We were given a mystery ingredient. I was lucky, I was given ale!  Butter poached lobster meat with ale, why not! The chef next to me got corn flakes…yikes! The five finalists worked up a real sweat with their final presentations.

And in the end, who was crowned “King of Seafood?” None other than John Currence of Mississippi.   Second place went to Brian Landry of “guess where?” New Orleans. And third place went to the amazingly talented Tafari Campbell of Maryland.

This year on July 18, I return to Great American Seafood Cook Off 2009. Appointed by Governor Baldacci for a second year in a row is a most amazing and great honor. Personally I think it is time there is a “Queen of Seafood.” But either way, we are taking Maine lobster, and we know no other seafood on earth compares.

Some chefs say that competition terrifies them. I say, “Bring it on!”

Margaret Salt McLellan is Executive Chef of Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine and 2008 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year

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