• Sitka Seafood Festival announces new director; will host art auction on Saturday, Oct. 5

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(The following letter to the editor originally appeared on Page 2 of the Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with the writer’s permission.)
 
ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF) is scheduled for Aug. 1-2, 2014. The festival continues to grow each year. This past year we brought in more than 100 out-of-own guests, had some national recognition from a couple of well-known culinary magazines, and continued to have more and more local support. 
 
Over the past four years, we have had a small group of volunteers working extremely hard to follow through with our mission statement, to “celebrate wild Alaskan seafood.” We have done this through education, such as bringing in amazing speakers such as a 2012 McArthur Genius Award-winner David Montgomery, and accomplished author, professor and chef Becky Selengut to offer free presentations to the public. We also started the new culinary scholarship award this past year which we hope will continue to grow to give a passionate future culinary artist more experience and funds to pursue their career further. 
 
We offer entertainment, including local and headliner bands such as the well-known band Trampled by Turtles, aerial silk dancers, Ninja acrobatics, and of course, the addition of the Scottish Highland Games and this past year the full- and half-marathon. But, even with all the other fun events going on, the focus of our festival is based around celebrating the culinary aspect of our amazing, local seafood products.  
Carolyn Kinneen

Carolyn Kinneen

I am writing this letter today to introduce you to the new director and co-directors of the Sitka Seafood Festival. I am so extremely excited with the potential of where this festival can go. If anyone gets the pleasure to meet our new directors, I think they will share in my enthusiasm, because these folks encompass what this festival is all about, and I think it can only get better from here!  The 2014 SSF Director is Carolyn Kinneen, along with co-directors Jeren Schmidt and Robert Kinneen.  All past board members, including myself, are staying active with the festival. 

Carolyn Kinneen is wife to our four-time returning guest chef Robert Kinneen, and has been active in the festival since the start. She currently lives in Anchorage, but with the help of our local co-director, Jeren Schmidt, should be a wonderful fit.  Carolyn works in many different areas of food-related advocacy and policy, and sits on multiple boards pertaining to Alaskan-based foods.  She has experience in running a large array of projects including the TEDx Anchorage lecture series, as well as the Alaska Food Policy Council

We are very excited to have Carolyn on board. If anyone would like to hear more about Carolyn, or pick her’s or any other board member’s brains about the future SSF, we will be holding an open “meet and greet” at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct 4, at Baranof Island Brewing Company (215 Smith St.).  Come say hello and welcome Carolyn, Rob and Jeren to their new positions, and feel free to pass along any suggestions, concerns or input you may have. 

Thank you for your continued support Sitka!  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 5th annual SSF Aug 1-2, 2014. And please attend our upcoming fundraiser, the Live Art Auction with the Fishermen’s Eye Gallery, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 5, at the Westmark Sitka Hotel.

— Alicia Haseltine, past SSF Director, current board member

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• Vendor forms available for the Sitka Seafood Festival’s market on Aug. 11

The Sitka Seafood Festival is recruiting food and other vendors for its market on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Crescent Harbor Shelter. In past years vendors have sold local seafood items, arts and crafts, books, clothing and other items related to seafood and the oceans.

The third annual Sitka Seafood Festival (and Scottish Highland Games) takes place on Aug. 10-11 at various locations around downtown Sitka. The final schedule still is being organized, but in previous years there usually has been a seafood dinner on Friday night catered by guest and local chefs, followed by a market and fun events such as tote races and bobbing for fish heads on Saturday. There usually are guest musicians who play on Saturday night, and this year they’ve added a Scottish Highland Games where people can throw heavy stones or toss the caber (a large pole/tree trunk that must go end-over-end when it lands). Other new events this year include a Sitka Signature Seafood Dish contest and a wedding cake contest.

To learn more about the event, check out the website. To become a vendor, download the forms linked below and contact Christi (Wuerker) Henthorn at 738-9047 or christinawuerker@uwalumni.com.

• 2012 Sitka Seafood Festival Vendor Information and Registration Forms

• Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute sponsors Alaska fish taco recipe contest

Alaska Fish Tacos (photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute)

Alaska Fish Tacos (photo courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute)

Do you have a great fish taco recipe that uses wild Alaska seafood, Sitka’s premier local food? If so, that recipe might earn you a trip to Los Angeles to serve your winning dish.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is sponsoring the contest, in partnership with celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feninger of Los Angeles-based Border Grill. The grand prize winner will fly to LA to serve his or her fish tacos alongside the chefs on their gourmet taqueria on wheels, the Border Grill Truck. All recipes must use at least one type of wild Alaska fish in a tortilla (so a burrito or quesadilla will work, too). For more details about the contest, go to http://www.alaskafishtaco.com/.

The recipe contest opened in November and runs through Monday, Jan. 31, 2011. Submit your recipe through the www.alaskafishtaco.com site, which also has videos and a few recipes from the chefs. In addition to the grand prize winner, there also will be a People’s Choice contest that starts on Feb. 15, 2011. The winner of the People’s Choice contest receives and Apple iPad.

If you have a great fish taco recipe using fish caught in Sitka, send the recipe and a photo of your masterpiece to charles@sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org. We don’t have any prizes, but the best recipes will be posted on the Sitka Local Foods Network site. Personally, I like a smoked king salmon quesadilla or a salmon taco with mango/peach salsa.