Alaska Celebrates Seafood With Culinary Events

This summer, Alaska is celebrating its long history with seafood by hosting culinary events like the Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off and transforming its former Hoonah Packing Co. fish cannery into a museum.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute named Chef Christopher Vane of Crush Wine Bistro in Anchorage the winner of the Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off, which was held on May 14, 2012. The Cook Off competitors were judged on a plated dish featuring wild Alaska seafood and Alaska Grown products by a panel of well-established chefs. Chef Vane beat five other chefs by creating a dish of white "troll-caught" king salmon pinwheels over spinach with herb and polenta cakes. As the winner of the event, Chef Vane will represent Alaska in the Great American Seafood Cook Off in New Orleans in August. ASMI plans to host the Great Alska Seafood Cook Off annually to select Alaska's national representative.

June 7 to 9, the inaugural OysterFest will coincide with Celebration in Juneau. Participants can learn shellfish safety and preparation tips, see oyster demonstrations by Tlingit Chef Rob Kinneen and meet oyster growers from Southeast Alaska. OysterFest is sponsered by Haa Aani, a subsidiary of Sealaska Corporation and will be held on the future site of the Walter Soboleff Cultural Center in downtown Juneau. Participants can sample the shellfish and enjoy oyster-themed menu pairings at local restaurants throughout Juneau.  Celebration is a dance and cultural festival which showcases the traditions and customs of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. While Celebration is held every other year, OysterFest organizers plan to hose the seafood showcase annually.

Icy Strait Point is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Hoonah Packing Co. fish cannery, which can be found at the heart of the Alaska Native-owned cruise ship destination. Its facilities have been restored and guests can take tours to see how the canning line operated in 1912.  A free museum offers an historical look at the area and the commercial fishing industry in Alaska.  Icy Strait Point will celebrate with two Neighbor's Days events. The first, on June 23, will kick off the 100-year clebration, corresponding with the traditional start of the fishing season and will focus on the fishing history of the Icy Strait Point site and cannery. The second, which will be held August 24, will focus on the history of the cannery itself and the people who worked there.  Cruise passengers will also have access to prizes and informative cannery tours while in port throughout the season.

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