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Maryland Crab Soup Cook-Off | Business

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Maryland Crab Soup Cook-Off

Cream of Crab

Judges

1. Mangos Bar & Grill, Tracys Landing.

2. Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Annapolis.

3. Riverwood Village, Silver Spring.

People’s Choice

1. Bella Napoli, Pasadena.

2. Riverwood Village, Silver Spring.

3. Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Annapolis.

Vegetable Crab

Judges

1. Hell Point Seafood, Annapolis.

2. Riverwood Village, Silver Spring.

3. Mangos Bar & Grill, Tracys Landing.

People’s Choice

1. Riverwood Village, Silver Spring.

2. M&M Catering, Odenton.

3. Hell Point Seafood, Annapolis.

Alternative Crab

Judges

1. Hell Point Seafood, Annapolis.

2. Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Annapolis.

3. The Granary Restaurant, Georgetown, Md.

People’s Choice

1. Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs, Annapolis.

2. Hell Point Seafood, Annapolis.

3. The Granary Restaurant, Georgetown, Md.

 

The Capital reports, Fresh mango and crab.

Joan Sheckells never thought to combine the two until Saturday, when she tried an off-menu creation by the chefs of Buddy's Crabs & Ribs during The Capital's 20th annual Crab Soup Cook-off.

"It's different from anything I have ever tried before," the Kent Island resident said while raving about the gazpacho. "It is a really fabulous soup."

About 1,200 people attended yesterday's cook-off, which was part of the 43rd annual Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park. There, they sampled 17 soups from 13 Maryland restaurants and catering companies.

Unlike past years, however, there was more on the menu than just the traditional offerings of cream of crab and vegetable crab soups. For the first time, organizers added an alternative crab soup category, allowing area chefs to showcase some of their more offbeat recipes.

Four restaurants took up the inaugural challenge, offering up unique soups that blended crab with locally grown heirloom tomatoes, beer and even buffalo sauce.

The gazpacho from Buddy's turned out to be the fan favorite. Featuring pieces of fresh mango, watermelon, onion and cucumber, the "People's Choice" award winner was described by festival-goers as "refreshing" and "palate cleansing."

While the soup is not currently on the menu at Buddy's - it was developed specifically for the cook-off over the past five days - Chef Scott Cook said "it may have to go on the menu now."

The judges had a different favorite. After a blind taste test, the five-member panel awarded its top prize to the Local Heirloom Tomato and Crab Gazpacho from Hell Point Seafood in Annapolis. In addition to red and yellow tomatoes, the recipe included purple peppers and toasted almonds.

"It's very unique, a great alternative soup that would be wonderful on a hot summer day," said festival-goer Ed Barnhouser of Pasadena.

The other two entries in the alternative category were a Buffalo Crab Soup from The Granary Restaurant in Georgetown, Md., and a Crab Beer Cheese Soup from their sister establishment, The Kitty Knight House Restaurant. The first featured a mixture of crab, hot sauce and Gorgonzola cheese, while the latter combined crab, cheddar cheese and Eastern Shore Brewing's Lighthause Ale.

"It's very distinctive. You really can taste the cheddar," Jan Garahy of Pasadena said of the beer soup.

The alternative recipes weren't for everyone at the cook-off, though. Some purists complained the mango, buffalo sauce and other additives drowned out the flavor of the crab.

"You could have left the crab out, and it wouldn't have made much of a difference," Alberta Mikulk of Chevy Chase said after trying a small bowl of the mango soup.

Most festival-goers, however, praised the inclusion of the new category, saying it broadened their horizons.

"It really spiced up the whole event," said Cindy Pumphrey of Pasadena.

"It's not every day that you get to have beer in your crab soup," added Shawn Klement of Columbia.