Scenes from the Cooking From Scratch Great American Seafood Cook-Off demonstration at the Sitka Kitch

Students learned how to make a variation of national-award-winning chef Lionel Uddipa’s winning dish during a Cooking From Scratch demonstration taught Nov. 9 at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. Chef Nel, of SALT restaurant in Juneau, was brought to town through a partnership with the Sitka Seafood Festival.

During this demonstration, Chef Nel taught students how to make a dish of risotto with Alaska spot prawns, artichokes and pea sprouts. In August, Chef Nel and his sous chef Jacob Packer won the 2017 Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, where they made a sea asparagus risotto with Alaska king crab. He switched from king crab to spot prawns for this demonstration due to availability and cost. Chef Nel will have more dishes to sample at the Sitka Conservation Society‘s Wild Foods Potluck from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

This demonstration was offered as part of the Cooking From Scratch class series at the Sitka Kitch, and on Nov. 8 Chef Nel taught students how to make seared coho salmon with orzo pasta and a chicken-veggie stock broth. Here are the remaining Cooking From Scratch classes coming up later in November:

The Cooking from Scratch series goal is to teach basic cooking skills using high-quality ingredients, and to help Sitkans take back their kitchens and reduce their food budgets. Interested individuals can register at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on the event title to register). Please pre-pay online using credit/debit cards or PayPal. If you want to pre-pay using cash or check, please contact Chandler, Claire or Clarice at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange payment. We need at least eight students registered for each class to guarantee they happen.

Class size is limited, so register early. The usual class cost is $27.50 per class, plus a food/supply fee that will be divided among registered participants. The registration deadline is late on the second night before each class. For more information about the class series, call Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440.

A slideshow of photos from Thursday’s Great American Seafood Cook-Off demonstration is posted below.

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Scenes from the Cooking From Scratch class on Fish ‘n Veggies at the Sitka Kitch

Students learned how to make seared coho salmon with orzo pasta and chicken-veggie stock during a Cooking From Scratch class taught Nov. 8 at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. The class was taught by national-award-winning chef Lionel Uddipa of SALT restaurant in Juneau, who was brought to town through a partnership with the Sitka Seafood Festival.

During this class, students learned how to prepare the chicken stock, how to chop the veggies, how to sear the salmon, how to make the garnish, and more.

Chef Nel and his sous chef Jacob Packer won the 2017 Great American Seafood Cook-Off in August in New Orleans, and from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Sitka Kitch (505 Sawmill Creek Road, inside First Presbyterian Church), Chef Nel will demonstrate a version of his award-winning recipe. He will make sea asparagus risotto with Alaska spot prawns (he used Alaska king crab in the competition, but switched to spot prawns for this demonstration due to availability and cost). This demonstration costs $20 and participants will get a large, nearly meal-sized sample to taste. We will accept walk-in participants for this event, but prefer people pre-register online by 11:55 a.m. Thursday so we know how many supplies we need.

In addition, here are other Cooking From Scratch classes coming up later in November:

There also may be a rescheduled Beans 101 class taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart in late November or December (this class was originally supposed to take place on Oct. 30).

The Cooking from Scratch series goal is to teach basic cooking skills using high-quality ingredients, and to help Sitkans take back their kitchens and reduce their food budgets. Interested individuals can register at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on the event title to register). Please pre-pay online using credit/debit cards or PayPal. If you want to pre-pay using cash or check, please contact Chandler, Claire or Clarice at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange payment. We need at least eight students registered for each class to guarantee they happen.

Class size is limited, so register early. The usual class cost is $27.50 per class, plus a food/supply fee that will be divided among registered participants. The registration deadline is late on the second night before each class. For more information about the class series, call Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440.

A slideshow of photos from Wednesday’s Fish ‘n Veggies class is posted below.

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Sitka Kitch to host third annual Cooking From Scratch class series in Fall 2017

Ever wanted to learn how to cook more and better food for less money?

Join us for the third annual Cooking from Scratch series of cooking classes at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, which is located in the First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road).

This year’s series features two events with national-award-winning chef Lionel Uddipa of SALT restaurant in Juneau (Chef Nel is in town courtesy of the Sitka Seafood Festival). There also will be a class on healthy desserts by Sitka nutritionist Holly Marban, and a class on using root vegetables taught by Sitka dietitian and health educator Lisa Sadleir-Hart.

Here is the list of classes (click on the class title for a direct link to the online registration page, link will open when it’s available).

There also may be a rescheduled Beans 101 class taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart in late November or December (this class was originally supposed to take place on Oct. 30).

The Cooking from Scratch series goal is to teach basic cooking skills using high-quality ingredients, and to help Sitkans take back their kitchens and reduce their food budgets. Interested individuals can register at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on the event title to register). Please pre-pay online using credit/debit cards or PayPal. If you want to pre-pay using cash or check, please contact Chandler or Clarice at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange payment. We need at least eight students registered for each class to guarantee they happen.

Class size is limited, so register early. The usual class cost is $27.50 per class, plus a food/supply fee that will be divided among registered participants (the demonstration is $20 and we will allow up to 40 people at this event). The registration deadline is late on the second night before each class (both of Chef Nel’s events will be open until late the night before each event).

For more information about the class series, call Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440.

Sitka chef Colette Nelson to represent Alaska in Great American Seafood Cook-Off

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Ludvig’s Bistro owner and executive chef Colette Nelson garnishes rabbit thighs with beach asparagus for a special local foods dinner she prepared as a February 2015 fundraiser for The Sawmill Farm.

Next week, Sitka chef Colette Nelson will carry a special cargo in a violin case when she heads to New Orleans to represent Alaska in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off.

Nelson, the owner and executive chef of Ludvig’s Bistro, will be carrying a frozen white king salmon in her violin case, the fish she plans to cook for the annual contest. The white king salmon was caught July 4 by troller Lou Barr of Auke Bay (who Nelson used to commercial fish with) and flash-frozen earlier this month. Nelson doesn’t plan to let the fish out of her control as she travels to New Orleans.

“I’m going to hold that fish with me. I’m not going to let somebody put it under the plane because that’s our gold,” Nelson told the Juneau Empire in a July 25 article.

On Aug. 6, Nelson will compete against chefs from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, and focuses on domestic, sustainable seafood and local ingredients.

Nelson, who will compete with her sous chef Josh Miller, hopes to become the second straight Alaska chef to win the Best Seafood Chef title, joining Beau Schooler and Travis Hotch of The Rookery Café in Juneau who won last year with a sockeye salmon dish. Nelson was nominated for this year’s contest by Gov. Bill Walker.

Nelson hasn’t said exactly how she plans to cook her white king salmon, but did hint that it will have a Spanish theme in keeping with her restaurant’s use of Mediterranean flavors.

“For me this experience is not only about representing Alaska, but it’s about what Alaska has given to me,” Nelson told the Empire. “I came here to fish in college so that I could study abroad in Spain. I did that and had a great time fishing. I fished for three seasons, then went to Spain and fell in love with the cuisine and with Mediterranean food as a whole. So to go to this competition 25 years later — after being in both the seafood industry and the restaurant business — it feels complete to go there with Spanish ideas.”

The dish will feature a pan-seared fillet of the fish that includes the belly meat.

“For anybody that knows king salmon, the belly meat is where the best flavor is,” Nelson said. “We like it just perfectly cooked so it just starts to separate, when the flakes come off. You can feel the oil, get it on your lips and really taste it.”

Nelson opened Ludvig’s Bistro in 2002, and has been a big supporter of local foods in Sitka (including using her restaurant to host fundraisers for the Sitka Local Foods Network and developing recipes and lesson plans for Sitka’s Fish To Schools lunch program coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society). She grew up in Oregon and attended the University of Washington, where she trained under Seattle restauranteur Susan Kaufman, who also had a food cart and restaurants in Juneau. She moved to Alaska in 1998, working as chef for Kingfisher Charters & Lodge in Sitka before opening her restaurant.

During the competition, Nelson and sous chef Josh Miller will have an hour to prepare six plates for the judges and one for photos. Nelson and Miller have been practicing, and now feel they’re ready.

“We do this all the time. We cook under pressure,” Nelson said. “When we were practicing (Sunday) I said, ‘Look, we’re just having a dinner party for seven guests and let’s just make it in an hour. We got this.’”