Chef Chris Long of Natalie’s, Camden Harbour Inn, Camden, Maine, was named the winner in this year’s Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, and Gourmet News has his recipe!
Long was one of four Maine finalists selected to prepare lobster dishes in front of a live audience and judges. The judges’ voting resulted in a near-tie, with the audience vote ultimately determining Long as the winner. Long’s winning dish was a butter poached Maine lobster with grilled local mushrooms, corn, parsnip ragout and thyme butter. Click here for the recipe.
Other competitors included Jon Gaboric, also of Natalie’s, Shanna O’Hea of Academe at The Kennebunk Inn and Brandon Blethen of Robert’s Maine Grill in Kittery.
Long’s winning dish is currently on the menu at Natalie’s Restaurant. Also featured will be Gaboric’s submission: butter poached lobster with a corn and miso puree, shaved radish salad, geoduck dressing, crispy quinoa and yuzu foam.
“This was a great opportunity for Chef Long to shine,” said Raymond Brunyanszki, owner of the Camden Harbour Inn and Natalie’s. “He’s truly gifted in his ability to craft unique dishes using Maine’s finest ingredients – a talent we’re proud to have in the kitchen at Natalie’s.” Brunyanszki added, “Lobster is Maine’s most famous food, we’ve always loved Maine lobster in our kitchen. One of our most popular offerings is our lobster tasting menu, four courses of lobster dishes, each highlighting the sweet, fresh flavor of the meat. This menu is available year-round.”
Long joined Natalie’s after working as Executive Chef at Spread Restaurant in Portland. Previous experience includes working as a leader in the kitchen at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and as an apprentice to Master Chef Hartmut Handke in the Bocuse d’Or World Cooking Contest in France. Long is a graduate of the Greenbriar Culinary Apprentice program in West Virginia. He has received gold and silver medals for competing in American Culinary Federation events.
Long took home a prize of $1,000 for winning the competition.
The competition was judged by Kathleen Fleury, Editor in Chief of Down East Magazine, Chef Abby Freethy of Northwoods Gourmet Girl in Greenville, and Emily Lane from Calendar Islands Maine Lobster Company.
The Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition is presented annually by the Maine Lobster Promotion Council.