The 2015 Great Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off

Petty Officer 2nd Class Chelsea Shepherd, Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Larson and Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Anderson present the winning dish of the 2015 Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off.  The competition took place during Coast Guard 17th District’s annual Buoy Tender Roundup.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Chelsea Shepherd, Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Larson and Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Anderson present the winning dish of the 2015 Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off. The competition took place during Coast Guard 17th District’s annual Buoy Tender Roundup. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Competition has been running rampant in Juneau as Coast Guard buoy tender crewmembers across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest have been participating throughout the week in the 2015 Buoy Tender Roundup. While activities have ranged from chain pull, line throw, tug-of-war and heat-and-beat, there’s one challenge that has a lot of spectators clamoring to attend; the fish cook-off contest.

The Great Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off had five buoy tender food specialist teams square off against one another to create a dish that was judged in two categories: presentation and taste. The rules were simple. Teams had the morning to prepare their meals to be presented to the judges by noon and the protein had to be a fish native to Alaska.

Judges of the Great Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off are presented fish wontons, a dish prepared by the team from Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Judges of the Great Alaskan Buoy Tender Fish Cook-off are presented fish wontons, a dish prepared by the team from Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

The Coast Guard culinary chefs headed off to prepare their meal in the galleys that they work in day-in and day-out, not much different than meals they prepare for their shipmates while underway, minus the intensity and competiveness. The meals that these food specialists prepare are not just considered sustenance to get the crew through the day, but are often times considered by many to be a huge morale boost.

“After working buoys for four to five hours you don’t want to come in for a grilled cheese sandwich,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Anderson, a food specialist aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Maple who participated in the event. “You don’t want to serve grilled cheese, you want to go above and beyond every time.”

As noon approached, the judges and tasters made their way into the Juneau Buoy Deck club to get a taste as teams personally presented their dishes. There were crab and Salmon cake, fish tacos, fish wontons, cedar plank grilled sockeye Salmon and blackened rockfish.

“Each cutter added their own personal flair,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer Jewell, a member of the 17th District Waterways Management Division and a judge during the food competition. “All of the cutters did an amazing job. It was very hard to pick a winner because they each took such a diverse take on each meal.”

Once the judges tasted each dish, points were tallied. A possible five points for each category. In the end it came down to two cutters, the Maple and Fir. After a highly contested debate between the judges a winner was announced. And the winner is…

The chefs of Coast Guard Cutter Maple, homeported in Sitka, Alaska.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Philip Steward from the Coast Guard Cutter Fir puts on the finishing touches to a salmon crab cake, a dish that earned second place in the competition.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Philip Steward from the Coast Guard Cutter Fir puts on the finishing touches to a salmon crab cake, a dish that earned second place in the competition. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Now for the winning recipe!

CGC Maple Fiesta Fish Tacos

Cilantro Lime Slaw :.

1 medium sized cabbage head sliced thin
2 medium carrots julienned
½ small red onion sliced thin
1 tbsp fresh chives

Lime Sauce :.

½ cup mayo
½ sour cream
3tbsp lime juice
1½ grated lime juice
½ tsp chili paste
4 crushed garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Mix all together and let it sit for 30 minutes if you can.

Mango Pico de Gallo :.

1 mango, peeled and minced
2 minced tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Combine all together. Salt and pepper

Chipotle Mayo :.

½ cup of smoked chipotle peppers
1 bottle of mayonnaise or 1 ½ cups
2 limes squeezed
¼ cup of cilantro

Blend all ingredients together in a blender, or food processor.

Blackened Ling Cod + Seasoning :.

3 table spoons of Ancho Chili powder, or just chili powder
2 table spoons of cumin
2 table spoons of garlic
1 table spoon of salt
2 table spoons of chipotle chili powder (if available)
1 cup of flour
3 slabs of ling cod, or halibut, ½ inch diced
Olive oil for cooking

Mix all of the seasonings together in a bowl, adjust to taste, and mix in the flour. Bread the cod. Use a frying pan or griddle surface, and coat in olive oil at 330-350 degrees F. Cook the fish cubes for 1 minute each side.

Serve the fish on a corn tortilla, on top of a bed of cilantro lime slaw, topped with mango pico de gallo and chipotle mayo.

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