My First Fish to Fork on Amelia Island!

Hi Dolls! Here on “The First Coast”, seafood is a high commodity, and the 6th Annual Fish to Fork in the Magnolia Garden of the gorgeous Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, showed us just how diverse our aquatic wildlife truly is! This was my first time attending what I would definitely deem one of the biggest local foodie events, and I was blown away at all of the interactive energy, creativity, and of course, deliciousness Fish to Fork had to offer! This year the event had an all-female chef lineup which I thought was a perfect idea being that the event was held Mother’s Day weekend. The chefs came together from different parts of the country to show off their fishing and culinary skills and I am so happy I was able to get in on the action!

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The Fish to Fork festivities started earlier in the week. The main event, I attended, took place on a Saturday. During the main event there were two rounds, the individual dish round and the group round. The chefs went on a fishing excursion the day before the main event to catch the ingredients they would need for their individual dishes.

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Maneet Chauhan, Whitney Otawka, Kelly Franz, Stacy Cogswell, Kelli Rogers, Alexia Gawlak

Photo credit is given to the Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

The beautiful fish below, were provided for the chefs to use during the group competitions.

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I have to take a moment to recognize these ice sculptures with fish in them! They were awe-striking! I’m always amazed at the creativity of others.

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To capture the fish in the ice and make it look like they’re in their natural habitat takes talent!

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This was the perfect afternoon for a foodie! The food was fantastic, the drinks were flowing, the band South City Live set the vibe with their amazing tunes, and the atmosphere was fun and friendly! To add icing to the cake, I got to meet one of my favorite food bloggers out of Atlanta, Erica Key of Eating with Erica and she is just as much of a delight in person as she is online! I can’t wait to visit some restaurants with her next time I’m in Atlanta! She is one of the best food bloggers in Atlanta and my go to for dining recommendations whenever I’m there!

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For the first half of the event, the chefs competed with their individual dishes. They created delicious dishes using some of the fish caught the day before. As you can see below, I was a very happy taster!

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Everything was incredibly delicious but I have to start with my favorite from the event! This was the “Jetty Fish & Crab Tikki”. It was Chef Maneet Chauhan’s beautifully plated dish made with saffron quinoa, tikka massala, fish fume, and mango slaw. This little fish and crab cake was bursting with flavor! What’s so awesome is that I was able to taste all of the ingredients. They meshed so well together! I had to go back over for a second sample!

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The following are based on the order pictured from left to right.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the dishes!

1.) Kelly Franz~ Backwater Bouillabaise: Stingray tasso, shellfish pot liquor +charred okra relish, carolina cornbread

2.) Alexia Gawlak~ Miso Barbecued Permit: charred florida peaches +corn+yuzu ramp vinaigrette+ togarashi-spiced pork rinds

3.) Whitney Otawka~Grouper: This was my second favorite dish! The grouper was seasoned to perfection and the corn was the perfect compliment! Chef Otawka was the winner of the individual dish competition!

4.) Stacy Cogswell~Whiting: grapefruit+fennel+herbs+buttered fumet

5.) Kelli Rogers~ Curried Away: green curry + coconut cream +radish + smoked fish skin + herbs

(Chef Rogers was the winner of Chef’s Choice Award)

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After we spent time visiting all of the chef’s stations to sample their individual creations, the chefs were randomly placed on teams to create a dish that could feed the crowd. They had to use the fish they caught earlier in the week along with the secret ingredient, “Florida Citrus”.

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These ladies were amazing! I felt like I was immersed in a live Food Network competition! It was actually pretty interactive because we were able to converse with the chefs while they prepared their dishes. This allowed all of the guests to be fully involved with the action and it was great!

fish to fork chefs

The Blue team, consisting of chef’s Maneet Chauhan, Stacy Cogswell, and Kelly Franz were the winners of the group challenge!

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I made a joke but in all seriousness, if you left the Fish to Fork event, hungry, what were you even doing? Besides the dishes being prepared by the chefs competing, The Omni culinary staff were out preparing delicious fare for guests to enjoy as well. There was a taco station, smoked lamb carving station, and a shrimp station. All of which were delicious!

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The drinks were flowing as well. In addition to there being signature drinks available to compliment each of the chef’s dishes, there were bars throughout the event, pouring up your beverage of choice.

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The Smoked Sake-Tini was one of the drinks I enjoyed most. The glass is smoked before the drink is poured in and it gives it an incredible smoky flavor!

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Fish to Fork was such an amazing time! I’ve attended a lot of food events but this is easily one of my favorites! You can’t get any fresher from right out of the ocean and into your belly! I also loved that we were able to interact with the chefs while they prepared their dishes. It truly showed us just how talented they were. I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to attend this event and I am certainly looking forward to doing it all over again next year. If you’re a foodie, you should totally add Fish to Fork to your list of events for next year. You’ll be so happy you did! As always thanks so much for stopping by!

Have a great day!



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