Oysters, mussels and lobster take centre stage during this four-day celebration of PEI’s world-famous shellfish September 19-22, 2019. Join chefs Lynn Crawford and Michael Smith for a jam-packed schedule of exciting culinary competitions and demos by day, and roof-raising kitchen parties by night. The Prince Edward Island International Shellfish Festival is a joint effort of the PEI Aquaculture Alliance and the PEI Shellfish Association, and is the world’s largest celebration of shellfish.
The competition is intense and the culinary mastery unparalleled at the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge, the most prestigious competition of the 2019 PEI International Shellfish Festival. This year the all-star line-up includes chefs from across North America and a look at their bios confirms that they are fierce competitors.
- Last year’s Garland Canada International Chef Challenge Winner Darren Rogers will be back in Charlottetown to defend his title. Rogers also competed in Top Chef Canada in 2018. He is the Chef de Cuisine at Park Restaurant in Montreal.
- Matthew Sullivan knows all about high-stakes cooking competition as a winner of Chopped Canada. He is the corporate chef at the esteemed MLSE Restaurant in Toronto.
- Nick Chindamo, chef at The Inn at Bay Fortune in Fortune PEI, is just off a win at the 2019 Restaurants Canada Garland Chefs Competition; he is obviously in prime form.
- Robyn Almodovar has wins at Chopped and Cut Throat Kitchen, and has been a finalist on Hell’s Kitchen. Her catering company and food truck in Wilton Manors, Florida is called Palate Party.
- Juan Pedrosa is a chef at the Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar in Boston. He has twice been a James Beard Rising Star semi-finalist and Boston Magazine named him Best Up-and-Coming Chef in 2017
- David Viana comes to the Shellfish Festival from Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Formerly a contestant in Top Chef Kentucky, Viana has been nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.
- Alex Lira comes to PEI from Estadio in Charleston, South Carolina. He has been a James Beard semi-finalist and South Carolina’s Best Young Chef.
- Brian Thibodeau is currently Sous-chef at restaurants Park and Lavanderia in Montreal. He has hands-on experience with shellfish from both coasts, having worked at both Vancouver’s Blue Water Café and PEI’s Inn at Bay Fortune.
- Daniel Kim comes to PEI all the way from Canada’s west coast. Currently at the Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Vancouver, Daniel is the winner of the 2018 Hawksworth Young Scholarship Award.
- Alex Fitzgerald developed a solid understanding of east coast shellfish during his training at the Culinary Institute of Canada. He is confidently creating original fish dishes at his current location at Mallard Cottage in Newfoundland.
- Chef Christine Hazel, from North Shore Bar and Kitchen in Wildwood, New Jersey, is a Chopped Champion from the Food Network, and a Hell’s Kitchen Alumni where she worked with Gordon Ramsay. Chef Hazel’s signature dish is surf and turf with seared scallops and pork belly.
- The competitor representing PEI in 2019 will be announced in late August at the Best of Sea chef challenge.
These seasoned chefs will be assisting a whole new crop of aspiring chefs at the Festival this year at the second annual Junior Chef Challenge presented by Dairy Farmers of Canada. Six competitors age 9-15 will show off their kitchen skills and creativity competing to win a whopping $1,000 cash prize in this challenge hosted by Chef Michael Smith. Their culinary creations will showcase PEI shellfish and dairy products and the lucky young foodies will be showing off their talent in front of a live Festival audience!
Chef Michael Smith is hosting the kick-off Fall Flavours Signature Event, Feast & Frolic on Thursday, September 19. After a roving reception visiting food stations and the World’s Greatest Oyster Bar, guests will sit down to an impressive menu of Island favourites including the featured PEI lobster in the shell along with Certified Island beef. Feast & Frolic is presented by Lobster Fishers of PEI, prepared by chef of the year, Irwin MacKinnon from Papa Joe’s Restaurant, and served by Garland Canada chef competitors.
The Festival takes place at the Charlottetown Event Grounds in PEI, Canada’s Food Island. The popular Atlantic band Signal Hill kicks off the Festival on Friday September 20 and Big Bad Party Band takes the stage on Saturday. Find the full entertainment line-up and schedule of events at www.peishellfish.com.
General admission day passes are $17 or $14 on Sunday, and $35 for a full weekend pass; the Feast & Frolic feature dinner is $155 per person. Purchase tickets before September 1 and save 10% at www.peishellfish.com or at the Eastlink Centre Box Office.