The Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission’s goal is, and has always been, to help Alabama’s seafood industry thrive and prosper.
And sometimes the best way to do that is to shake a few hands and keep our ears open.
Thus was the case on May 26 at the 4th annual Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit, which took place for the first time at The Wharf in Orange Beach.
“This year’s Seafood Summit was another big success,” said Chris Blankenship, director of Alabama Marine Resources and program administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. “The numbers of people in attendance were good, but more importantly, the people and the companies they represented were just what we wanted to facilitate seafood sales.”
Those companies that were represented included Sysco, U.S. Foods, Rouse’s Supermarkets, Western Supermarkets, Publix, and Inland Seafood, as well as restaurants like Bill’s By The Beach, Kitchen On George, Flora-Bama Yacht Club, Odette, and others.
The event lasted from 8:30am to 2:00pm and included opening comments from Blankenship as well as Commissioner John McMillan of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, presentations by founding editor of MyRecipes.com and Oyster Obsession Jason Burnett, executive chef of the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and founder of the NUISANCE Group Chris Sherrill, and Captain Troy Frady of Distraction Charters. There were also information panel discussions of grocers and food service representatives.
New to the Summit lineup this year was the opening night reception at the 2nd annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off, a stand-alone event last year that was paired with the Summit this year.
This year’s Alabama Seafood Cook-Off included four chef competitors from throughout the state. Chef Josh Quick of Odette in Florence, AL was crowned champion by the judges, and Chef Brody Olive of Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach was named runner-up.
Together, the two events were a perfect representation of what makes Alabama Gulf Seafood so special: the delicious, premium product itself as well as the folks who catch, process, sell, and cook it.
“The 4th annual Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit was a tremendous success, particularly because of the combination of the Cook-Off and the Summit the following day,” said Commissioner John McMillan. “It’s always exciting to learn what’s going on in the Gulf seafood industry.”
“It’s always great to partner with Commissioner McMillan and the Department of Agriculture to put on the Summit every year,” Blankenship echoed. “The atmosphere at the Cook-Off the night before was electric, and the seafood processors and dealers had many opportunities the next day to forge new business relationships with the people, chefs, and companies that were in attendance and ready to do business. This event is so valuable to the seafood industry and coastal economy of our great state.”
For more information on last week’s events, see the full line-up of Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit panels and guests as well as our recap of the Alabama Seafood Cook-Off.