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

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, June 18, 2021

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

A former Juneau chiropractor who was indicted for multiple sexual assault charges in April was charged with more assaults in early June. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Former chiropractor faces additional sexual assault charges

The former Juneau resident was indicted for five more felony charges early in June.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senators press Interior Secretary Haaland on oil lease pause

Murkowski said she was flabbergasted that Haaland did not address the court ruling.

I have flies with barbell eyes, jig heads, cone heads, bead heads and no heads. I have flies with stinger hooks that trail and long-shanked salmon hooks that don’t. I have red, pink, salmon, fuchsia, cerise, purple, orange, flesh, green, olive, chartreuse, white and black flies made of feathers, chenille, hackle, marabou, flashabou and silicone. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: One good fish

Three is the magic number.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a glance for Wednesday, June 16

The most recent state and local figures.

In this July 13, 2007, file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Appeals court panel orders review of EPA decision in Alaska

Review concerns decision to withdraw proposed restrictions on large-scale mining near Bristol Bay.

A recently released map by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration shows the vast areas of low data speeds and access by broadband users across Alaska and the rest of the U.S. (Screenshot)
White House laying groundwork for improved internet infrastructure

In Alaska, providers are looking at their own improvments to access.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry speaks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday, June 15, 2021, by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. Doughty’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction to those states said his order applies nationwide. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

The decision is a blow to Biden’s efforts to rapidly transition the nation away from fossil fuels.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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

Most Read