Chef Lionel Uddipa of Red Spruce and his team prepare a dish of seared Alaskan scallop with Red Spruce miso, shio koji, calamansi, candied kumquat and herring egg bottarga for a charity dinner highlight the seafood cuisines of Alaska and Louisiana at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Two seafood states on one plate

Alaska and Louisiana seafood industries build ties through cuisine

This article has been updated with additional information.

Juneauites got a taste of two states on one plate Tuesday evening, at a special dinner meant to highlight the seafood cultures of Alaska and Louisiana. Juneau’s chef Chef Lionel Uddipa of Red Spruce and Chef Michael Brewer of Nola Geauxst Kitchen in New Orleans prepared a dinner highlighting the two state’s seafood cuisine.

From left to right, Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, Chef Michael Brewer, Chef Lionel Uddipa and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser in the kitchen of Red Spruce for a charity dinner highlighting the seafood cuisines of both states on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, Chef Michael Brewer, Chef Lionel Uddipa and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser in the kitchen of Red Spruce for a charity dinner highlighting the seafood cuisines of both states on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown the Great American Seafood Cook-off in 2020 so its organizers decided to take the show on the road for 2021. Despite Alaska being a long journey for the Louisiana Seafood team that puts on the event, promoters said there was a special connection between the two states.

Diners were treated to dishes like Alaskan king crab with seaweed, vanilla, salmon roe, crispy taro chip and Louisiana oysters on the half shell with Cajun caviar, cucumber, lemon and mint gelées. The main course was blackened Alaska halibut bouillabaisse with foraged vegetables, roasted crawfish stock, blanked Louisiana white shrimp and Tabasco powder.

Plates of fried Louisiana soft shell crab with Creole tomato, Louisiana crab ravigote, red chili and basil oils and torn herbs served at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Plates of fried Louisiana soft shell crab with Creole tomato, Louisiana crab ravigote, red chili and basil oils and torn herbs served at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

“We wanted to showcase the stuff you have right our your back door,” Brewer told the crowd, gesturing to Auke Bay just outside, “and that we have right outside our backdoor.”

[Bill protecting Unangax̂ cemetery signed in Juneau]

Uddipa said he personally foraged some of the ingredients used in the dishes. Both chefs are winners of the Great American Seafood Cook-off, which is where the chefs said they met and bonded.

The $100 a person dinner sent $5,000 to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, according to Ashley Heimbigner with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, one of the event’s organizers. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer said organizers also wanted to use the opportunity to promote the often interconnected seafood and tourism industries, both of which were adversely impacted by the pandemic.

Alaskan king crab with seaweed, vanilla, salmon roe, crispy taro chip served at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Alaskan king crab with seaweed, vanilla, salmon roe, crispy taro chip served at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

The top three industries in both Alaska and Louisiana are the oil and gas industries, seafood and tourism, said Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, at a special dinner at Forbidden Peak Brewery in Auke Bay, and the states shared similar challenges in those industries.

“We’ve got food that’s going to feed your soul,” Nungesser said in his distinct Louisiana accent, repeating his state’s seafood slogan. “We hope that’s what this is going to do.”

Riffing on the two state’s slogans, Meyer said he hoped people would choose to “feed your soul with seafood that’s wild, natural and sustainable.”

Red Spruce chefs prepare a dessert of New Orleans beignets with Alaskan foraged elderflower pastry cream, Alaskan devil’s club ice cream at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Red Spruce chefs prepare a dessert of New Orleans beignets with Alaskan foraged elderflower pastry cream, Alaskan devil’s club ice cream at a charity dinner highlighting Alaska and Louisiana seafood at Forbbiden Peak Brewery on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

Most Read