The record will show that chef Glen Manfra of Gloucester’s Willow Rest was voted the winner over Mercedes Laboa of Pride’s Osteria in Beverly Farms in Thursday’s annual Seafood Throwdown event at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market.
But the real winners at the Stage Fort Park event were all of those who got the chance to sample the dishes after the judging — and the Gloucester-based North Atlantic Marine Alliance, which sponsored the event.
That’s because, at a time when Gloucester’s groundfishing fleet is grappling with tight quota limits on cod, yellowtail flounder and other traditional staples of the seafood industry, all got to see and taste some alternative fruits of the sea at an event that is geared toward showcasing alternative seafood dishes.
The fish for Thursday’s showdown — held as a secret until the competition began — were pollock and redfish, otherwise known as ocean perch and one of the species promoted by NOAA and others for fishermen to target in the midst of the cod crisis.
The throwdowns, an annual feature of the Cape Ann Farmers Market, call for the competing chefs to work with the assigned seafood, then to supplement the fish dish with vegetables and other items purchased at that day’s Farmers Market.
The Farmers Market will return to Stage Fort — sans “throwdown” — next Thursday and every succeeding Thursday into mid-October.