Judging the CATCH Culinary Competition

On the wkn. of June 21-22nd I was a judge for the CATCH Seafood Festival’s Great CATCH Culinary Competition. Dream Gig! It’s not this often that one gets to enjoy a selection of seafood such as this, and of such great quality to boot.
What a tease! We only got one or two bites of each dish before they were whisked away to try the next. Sigh…but I guess I can’t complain because it was an incredible two days full of decadent seafood!
The rules were set at this: each chef had to use the seafood contained within the ‘black box’ a selection of mystery ingredients including Nova Scotin seafood. They were also permitted to use only ingredients provided to them, and in addition, two of their choice.
Here are the results…
(A ‘Scratch & Sniff’ feature would be seriously useful here)

Competition #1: BeeChoo Char vs. Earwin Palo


Appetizer~Tuna three ways: tuna w/ avocado ball; seared Cajun tuna with corn salsa, jicama, coconut and cilantro; tuna dumpling.

Main~Pan fried Haddock with panko Parmesan, roasted sweet potato, tomato chow, fennel puree, green beans, peas.


Appetizer~Cucumber cube w/ tuna tartare; tuna smoke; tuna in coconut ginger vermicelli.

Main~Black rice mushroom risotto; haddock wrapped jicama, carrot caramel; haddock served with roasted veg, parsnip puree, balsamic butter.

COMPETITION #2: Peter Dewar vs. Jesse Vergen


Appetizer~Mussel sheet, cucumber citrus salad, stuffed avocado, salsa verde bubbles, roasted almonds.

Main~Sous vide halibut, roast fennel, strawberry sauce, sweet potato puree, green beans, pea shoots.


Appetizer ~Smoked mussel w/ strawberry arugula salad, herb oil.

Main~Pan seared NS Halibut, veg medley, crispy prosciutto and red wine vinaigrette.

Competition #3: Tom Malycha vs. Luis Clavel


Appetizer ~Clam, corn and bacon chowder w/ smoked salmon, radish and jicama salad.

Main~Swordfish with passion fruit and white wine sauce, cilantro polenta and pickled beets.


Appetizer ~Smoked Salmon Ball w/ cream cheese and dill; clam salad w/ navel orange, fennel and red wine vinegar; smoked salmon chowder and clam soup.

Main~Butter-poached swordfish, sweet potato-corn hash, white wine Muscat maple ginger reduction, green beans, butternut squash pavee, turnip puree, roasted parsnip.

Competition #4: Nitin Mehra vs. Roger Andrews


Appetizer~Sizzler chili prawn w/ passion fruit and rhubarb.

Main~Mom & Pop halibut, mango chutney, smoked eel w/ lentils, rhubarb lassie.


Appetizer ~Smoked eel and baby shrimp salad w/ mango coulis and crushed avocado.

Main~Halibut poached in olive oil, bacon and onion bread pudding, warm rhubarb and grapefruit salpicon, sautéed green beans, truffle squash.

Semi-final round #1: Peter Dewar vs. Roger Andrews


Appetizer~Crab and bean curd roll, mango sauce, crab and vegetable slaw, tomato sheet.

Main~Sous vide halibut cheek, pickled beets, curried parsnip, parsley sauce, sweet potato sticks, red onion jam.


Appetizer ~Shredded crab and sun choke soup, pickled cucumber sautéed corn.

Main~Panko crusted halibut cheek, fennel and grapefruit reduction, lychee cream, sweet potato and parsnip soup, steamed green beans.

Semi-final #2: BeeChoo Char vs. Luis clavel


Appetizer~Oyster w/ shallot and jalapeño; panko oyster w/ tomato chutney octopus salsa w/ fennel and grapefruit.

Main~Quinoa w/ smoked Oulton’s bacon, seared cornmeal arctic char, asparagus ribbon, parsnip puree, Savoy cabbage roll with sweet onion.


Appetizer ~Panko fried oyster w/ lime mayo, cucumber salad; butter poached Octopus w/ chimmichuri, jicama pickled, tomato salsa.

Main~BBQ blueberry salad w/ Brioche crouton, truffle sabayon, Char in smoke, carrot pearls, Portobello ragout, steamed bok choy.

Championship Round: LUIS CLAVEL VS. Peter Dewar


Appetizer~Scallop credo, cucumber lime cilantro; pan seared scallop, coconut and blueberry; scallop in a banana leaf.

Main~Butter poached lobster, fondant potato, basil pesto, tempura lobster, maple gastrique ginger beet puree.


Appetizer~Lobster sheet, carrot caramel, seared watermelon, marinated cucumber, quinoa salad, minted sour cream.

Main~Seared scallop, pomme anna, red pepper sauce, sautéed asparagus, squash puree, roasted corn relish.

* Seafood donated from the Fisherman’s Market, Scotian Halibut Ltd. & CanAqua Seafoods Ltd.

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