Chris Long, line cook at Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn, edged out Jon Gaboric — the executive chef he works under — as well as Shanna O'Hea of Academe at The Kennebunk Inn and Brandon Blethen of Robert's Maine Grill in Kittery to earn the title of Maine Lobster Chef of the Year at the Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival in Portland on Thursday .
Long made a "rich dish of lobster poached in butter, served with grilled maitake and oyster mushrooms and a corn-and-parsnip ragout," wrote the Press Herald's Meredith Goad. It was good enough to beat his boss, who "... made a refined dish that tasted of the sea and is part of his restaurant's five-course lobster tasting menu. He served butter-poached lobster dish with a corn and miso puree, shaved radish salad, geoduck dressing, crispy quinoa and yuzu foam."
Both dishes will be on the menu at Natalie's come Monday. Kathleen Pierce at the Bangor Daily News worked a little drama into her recap of the friendly competition: "The loss was hard for Gaboric, who glumly said 'I am disappointed,' moments after Long was crowned. 'Obviously I'm very happy for Chris.'"
And the official Twitter account of the event took a moment to rub a pinch of sea salt in Gaboric's wound:
Congratulations to Chef Chris Long from Natalie's Restaurant. We pity Chef Jon Gaboric who shares the kitchen and lost bragging rights.— HarvestOnTheHarbor (@HarvestonHarbor) October 24, 2013
· Natalie's Chef Wins Crowd, and Lobster Chef Honor [PPH]
· Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Goes to Camden Cook [BDN]
· @HarvestonHarbor [Twitter]
Natalie's chefs Jon Gaboric (left) and Chris Long. [Photo: gBritt]