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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: September 19, 2014

Third-annual Claw Down puts lobster front and center in Boothbay (photos)

Chefs from Mine Oyster and Rocktide Inn, both in Boothbay Harbor, won the 2014 Claw Down lobster bite challenge and will go on to compete for Lobster Chef of the Year at Harvest on the Harbor.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

All photos by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography

A decadent nugget of fried lobster Gruyere mac n’ cheese and a luscious mini popover filled with lobster, blueberry-cognac jam and a creamy sauce took the top honors at the 3rd annual Claw Down lobster bite competition on Thursday evening.  Eighteen chefs brought their best lobster game to the Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce’s sell-out event at Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay, It drew guests from as far away as Chicago and Colorado to sample dishes like Peruvian-style lobster ceviche on a mini tostada with mango guacamole and brown butter crema (Boothbay Harbor Country Club) or crispy pork belly, cream cheese and lobster with a crispy Parmesan frico (Robinson’s Wharf & Tug’s Pub).

The two winning dishes were the creations of Dwayne Whitlocke of Rocktide Inn, who won the Judge’s Choice Award with his lobster-blueberry popover, and Steve Richards of Mine Oyster, who took home the People’s Choice Award for his fried lobster mac n’ cheese. New this year: The two winners will go on to compete for Lobster Chef of the Year at Harvest on the Harbor in Portland next month.

The evening’s emcee was chef Kerry Altiero, chef/owner of Cafe Miranda and Hardacre Farm in Rockland. Judges were Cal Hancock, president of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.;  Cathy Billings, author of “The Maine Lobster Industry – A History of Culture, Conservation & Commerce;” and Christopher Papagni, former executive vice president of the International Culinary Institute, New York City

The winners:

Chef’s Choice: Jeremy Donovan, Boothbay Harbor Country Club

People’s Choice: WINNER — Steve Richards, Mine Oyster; 1st runner up — Tony Bickford, The Thistle Inn; 2nd runner up — Dwayne Whitlocke, Rocktide Inn.

Judge’s Choice: WINNER — Dwayne Whitlocke, Rocktide Inn; 1st runner up — Tony Bickford, The Thistle Inn; second runner up — Eric Garringer, Robinson’s Wharf

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