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Ready, Set, Cook! The Lake Superior Fish Classic is Here!

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Ready, Set, Cook! The Lake Superior Fish Classic is Here!

Northland Chefs will battle it out at this year’s sold-out Lake Superior Fish Classic. University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Dining Services Executive Chef Tom Linderholm enters the fray for the first time this year. He’s up against some tough competition, too, alongside last year’s Superior winner, Scott Graden (executive chef at New Scenic Cafe) as well as the winner of last year’s People’s Choice award, Avery Cassar (executive chef at Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe). Tony Beran, executive chef at Lake Avenue Restaurant, also wields his spatula as one more competitor from Duluth to fight for the Lake Superior Classic title.

UMD’s Sea Grant College Program and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute joined forces to present the third annual Fish Classic this year, which takes place on October 4th from 5:00 – 7:30 pm at the Duluth Depot. Over 200 lucky attendees will enjoy a professional cook-off, a tasting event, and a special tribute to those who have been involved with the success of Lake Superior’s fisheries.

Russell Habermann, currently a junior at UMD and a student worker at Minnesota Sea Grant, has been involved in organizing and planning this event for three consecutive years. Previously named “A Salute to Lake Superior’s Sustainable Fisheries,” the event originated in the Twin Cities in 2011. This year, he is excited to see the event transition to Duluth. Habermann is an urban studies major and an economics minor.

“The commercial fishing industry on Lake Superior has a long, rich history,” said Habermann. “In its third year, this event aims to celebrate the people who sustain the Northland through their work with Lake Superior fish.”

Habermann, a Duluth native, believes the Fish Classic helps promote the use of cisco and whitefish in Northland kitches and restaurants. “Lake Superior offers a great food resource,” he says. “We hope this event will raise awareness of how Northland citizens can utilize and enjoy what Lake Superior provides.” Cisco is a delicate freshwater white fish from the trout family found in the Great Lakes and managed in Minnesota. Cisco, also known by the name “Lake Herring,” shouldn’t be confused with pickled herring, which is made from ocean herring. The Sea Grant program recognizes this event as a way to differentiate the fish to the public and to chefs.

Take a peek at the 2012 Salute to Lake Superior Fisheries:

The Lake Superior Fish Classic brings together seven chefs from Minnesota and three chefs from Wisconsin to make up a roster of ten of the Upper Midwest’s finest chefs. In additions to UMD, Duluth’s New Scenic Cafe, At Sara’s Table, and Lake Avenue Restaurant, professional chefs from the following restaurants are competing: Woolley’s Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Three Three Five, Tempest American Fish and Oyster House, and Potawatomi Bingo Casino.

The cook-off allows each chef to create their own entree from cisco or whitefish. The competition is fierce with a prize of $1,000 for first place, $750 for the runner-up, and $500 to the public’s favorite dish.

Read more about each of the competing chefs and the judges of the competitions by visiting: Chefs Compete. You Eat.

Linderholm began his career learning from the best culinary artists in the Twin Cities. Since then, Linderhold has designed and opened several restaurants along the North Shore, including the Odyssey Resorts into a North Shore cuisine destination. The new University chef said he is thrilled to continue to promote local products by cooling up his own Lake Superior whitefish entree for the competition.

“This event is a great opportunity to showcase the fresh sustainable fish we have from Lake Superior,” said Linderhold. “I’m honored by the invitation to compete against some good friends and promote local and fresh food products.”

(Story written by Erin Lehman / UMD External Affairs)