Zesty grilled sockeye salmon fillets ready to pop into the oven and serve up as an entrée within 20 minutes won the grand prize Feb. 23 in the 20th annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition.
Bill Bailey, one of the owners of Copper River Seafoods, accepted the award for the company during a gala soiree at the Anchorage Hilton. "Being a founder of Copper River Seafoods the awards received at the 20th annual Symphony of Seafoods validated the effort of the founders and CRS team who are all grounded in its efforts to support the best in business in and from Alaska," Bailey said.
Copper River Seafoods also won the People's Choice award and another for first place in retail competition -- all for the company's Zesty Grill Sockeye Salmon, one of several new seafood fillets the company introduced to retail markets in 2012.
Another of these items, CRS's Roasted Garlic Alaskan Cod, took second place in retail competition. Orca Bay Seafoods' Teriyaki Style sockeye Salmon Seafood Burger rounded out the retail winners, in third place.
"We entered the two new retail, wild, Alaska marinade seafood products to get a third party review of their flavor and overall market appeal," said Robin Richardson, the company's chief business development officer. "The awards by the general public (People's Choice), as well as the professionals (grand prize) and (retail) strengthen our resolve that our Copper River Seafoods customers can benefit with our value added product lines."
Alaskan Sablefish Unagi Style, from Triad Fisheries, the People's Choice winner at the Symphony's Seattle gala, took first place in the food service competition.
Trident Seafoods' Seafest Alaskan Salmon Loins placed second, and Chang International's Sealectables Cod Fish 'n Sticks took third place honors.
Aqua Cuisine Lit'l Sammies, a cocktail size salmon snack from Aqua Cuisine, placed first in the smoked seafood competition, with Trident Seafoods Smoked Sockeye Salmon: Sea salt nova style, in second place.
Jim Browning, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, announced the winners. AFDF, now in its 34th year of promoting commercial fisheries in Alaska, has hosted the Alaska Symphony of Seafood for 20 years.
Participants in the gala events in Seattle and Anchorage vote on the People's Choice award for their favorite entries, while a panel of chefs and other industry experts choose the winners based on taste, packaging and more.
The event promotes new products using wild Alaska seafood for retail, food service and smoked fish categories.
Winners are given booth space, plus round trip airfare to the International Boston Seafood Show in March, with potential buyers from across a broad spectrum of domestic and international markets.
Major sponsors of the 2013 competition included the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, Alaska Seafoods Marketing Institute, American Seafoods Group, Northwest Fisheries Association, At-Sea Processors Association, Trident Seafoods, Copper River Seafoods, Alaska Longline Co., Aleutians Pribiloff Islands Community Development Association, the City of Unalaska, Alaska Air Cargo, Marine Stewardship Council, and Marel, a leading provider of food processing equipment.