Windjammer Days hosts 5th annual Crab Cake Cook Off
On Monday, June 26 Boothbay Harbor Inn hosted the 5th Annual Windjammer Days Crab Cake Cook-Off. Four local restaurants competed for Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.
This year’s contestants included Robert Bailey representing Boothbay Harbor Inn; Tancy Mitchell, Brady’s Restaurant; Kelly Farrin, The Carriage House Restaurant; and Jesse Mackie, McSeagulls. Guest Judges were Maria Desmond, co-owner and chef of Applecroft Catering in Waldoboro, and Sharon Rose and Rob Caldwell from Newscenter 6, event organizer Michele Barter said.
First-time competitor Mitchell won the Judge’s Choice award and a $500 gift certificate to Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce. “It's a crab cake recipe that I developed probably 40 years ago, and it has varied not at all since. The main ingredient is Fresh Maine crab meat. That’s what really gives it its great flavor," said Mitchell.
Mitchell was initially approached by her daughter and Brady's Restaurant owner Jennie Mitchell Plummer, to represent the business, as its full-time chef was too busy. Mitchell was impressed by the good sportsmanship of the other competitors, as they lent help dispersing each entry to the audience in the allotted time. "It's just a good time, which is what it's meant to be."
Farrin, winner of People's Choice and a $250 gift certificate, echoed Mitchell's sentiment about the camaraderie between contestants. Farrin has participated in the competition since its inception, walking away with a prize almost every year. His basic crab mix stays the same with sauteed onions, celery, and lemon butter, but the other seasonings differ per entry. This year, Farrin used an artichoke lemon parsley aoli, lavender that has been sprouting from his garden, and a red pepper, red onion agrodolce marinade.
"We try to utilize a different kind of set (of ingredients) every year that won't take away from the flavor of the actual crabcake but kind of enhance it. So that's definitely something you're always thinking about every year. Keep it simple, but utilize the product you have and keep it as local as you can."
All competitors and judges received gifts from The Friends of the Windjammer Days, Barter said.