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Local chefs to compete in crawfish cookoff

Crawfish will be prepared in a variety of creative ways as festival-goers vote on the best recipe
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TUALATIN - It will be a crawfish-lovers' dream as cooks from five different restaurants compete in the Tualatin Crawfish Festival's ultimate battle, the Crawfish cookoff on Friday, Aug. 11, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Tualatin Commons food court.

The newest cookoff competitor will be Ken Lucke from Shrimply Delicious of Seaside, Ore. Shrimply Delicious has been a part of the festival for several years, but this year Lucke decided to try his luck in the recipe contest, serving crawfish quesadillas.

Parallel 45 Wine Bar chefs will appear in the cookoff for the second year in a row, preparing some down-home comfort food: crawfish macaroni and cheese.

Tualatin Rotary Club members will make cooked and spiced 'crawfish au natural' - crawfish in a shell.

Chefs from Hayden's Lake Front Grill will cook crawfish cakes, and Haggen Food and Pharmacy cooks will prepare 'Zarigari Sushi,' otherwise known as crawfish sushi.

Tualatin Haggen executive chef James Valentine took home the blue ribbon two years ago and wooed the judges last year with his crawfish martinis, served in colorful martini glasses.

'Their presentation was awesome,' said the Tualatin chamber's executive director and crawfish festival coordinator Hope Howard.

'Haggen is a success story of ours,' Howard said. Haggen employees have participated in the cookoff for many years, but 'a few years ago they started really getting into it.'

Chefs from Haggens began putting together several recipes for their employees to taste and vote on, and the dish with the greatest response was used in the cookoff.

Along with three official judges, festival-goers will get to try the cuisine and vote in the 'people's choice' judging. Sample sizes of the entries will be $1, and larger sizes and additional menu items will also be available.

And to wash the crawfish down, Widmer beer along with Oak Knoll and Beringer Founders Reserve Wines, pop and water will be sold at the Tualatin chamber information booth.