Friday, December 1, 2023

Crowning a winner: Feast of the Sea’s Champion showdown

If you’re up on the 2nd Maestro del Mar Chef Challenge Series and were even luckier to taste the winning dishes so far, mark Oct. 23 to attend the final showdown with a Dinner on the Dock from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The all-day Feast of the Sea Seafood Festival follows on Oct. 24. The Dinner on the Dock finale costs $35; general admission to the seafood festival is free and runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Both events are in downtown West Palm Beach (Clematis and Flagler).

There were four semifinal rounds, so those four winners and 2014 winner Chef Eugenio Santucci, from the delightful Santucci Ristorante on Clematis (610 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561/337-2532), will face off at the dinner. That means Chef Santucci will be joined by Chef Blake Malatesta (pictured; 50 Ocean, 50 S. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach), Chef Cassel from Hullabaloo (517 Clematis, West Palm Beach), Chef Clay Carnes from The Grille in Wellington (12300 S. Shore Blvd., Wellington), and Chef Eric Grutka of Ian’s Tropical Grill (2875 SE Ocean Blvd., Stuart).

At the showdown, each chef will have one hour to create a dish based on a mystery ingredient prepared with items such as fresh produce, baked goods and groceries.

The 2015 winning dishes from the semifinals include: quinoa-crusted smoked tuna with smoked mushrooms and charred asparagus (Chef Cassel); pan-roasted spiced salmon with a passion fruit vinaigrette and a shaved fresh vegetable salad (Chef Carnes); Asian spoon snapper dishes, including Himalayan salt-cured snapper with a cabbage dill remoulade (Chef Malatesta); and lobster with fruit salsa (Chef Grutka).

About the Author

Lynn Kalber wasn’t born in Boca Raton, but she attended elementary through high school there, so she might as well have been. She’s a graduate of the University of Florida and has been in journalism most of her life, including 26 years at The Palm Beach Post. She’s written feature and food stories, and edited food copy among other jobs, including blogging about wine (The Swirl Girls). Her husband is writer and author Scott Eyman. They live in West Palm Beach with an assortment of cats and dogs.

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