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Chef Chris Campbell, of The Inn at St. Peters, shows his “Gary” lobster roll during the P.E.I. Lobster Festival at the Souris lighthouse. Campbell’s roll was a twist on the traditional take and featured a champagne vinaigrette and fried shallots.
©MITCH MACDONALD/THE GUARDIAN
SOURIS, P.E.I. - A day-long festival celebrating the lobster fishery in eastern P.E.I. was a giant step in the right direction for promoting the area’s tasty crustacean, says those working in the industry.
Fishermen Johnny Flynn, who also operates The Lobster Shack in Souris, was one of several vendors serving lobster rolls during the first P.E.I. Lobster Festival this weekend.
Certainly we should be promoting more of our lobster resources… there’s a lot of lobster landed in the eastern end of P.E.I.
Fishermen Johnny Flynn
Flynn said the festival, which was held at the Souris lighthouse grounds, was “probably long overdue.”
“Certainly we should be promoting more of our lobster resources… there’s a lot of lobster landed in the eastern end of P.E.I.,” said Flynn, who compared P.E.I.’s lobster industry to the one in Maine. “Down there, the lobster fishing industry is just part of the culture. It’s on license plates and keychains, there’s a lot of mom and pop lobster shacks… I know it’s a different industry because it’s year round down there, but we can still learn from them in terms of promoting what we have.
“(This festival) is a great step in the right direction.”
Wallace Rose, one of the event’s organizers, said while there are already long-running lobster festivals in the Prince County there was little promotion in the eastern area of the province.
“We thought it was important to hold it here at a working fishing harbour,” said Rose. “It’s all about lobster, the lobster fishery and the people who support it.”
Apart from the food, the event included lobster trap building demonstrations, tours of boats, the lighthouse and Canadian Coast Guard facility, as well as kid’s activities.
There were also cooking demos, a lobster eating conversation and a reception dinner at Eastern Kings Arena that sold out all 400 seats. The event also raised money for P.E.I. food banks through the “For a Good Claws” initiative.
The highlight for many was when six chefs faced off in the Island Lobster Roll Challenge.
For Maximilian Lundershausen, nothing could top Flynn’s original roll that focused on the basics of lobster, butter and mayonnaise.
“It’s awesome. I don’t have much experience with lobster rolls but, so far, this is the best I’ve ever had,” said Lundershausen, who is originally from Germany, but moved to P.E.I. two weeks ago from Vancouver.
There were also some twists on the classic lobster roll.
Chef Chris Campbell, of The Inn at St. Peters, topped his “Gary” lobster roll with fried shallots and substituted mayonnaise for a champagne vinaigrette.
“It’s a bit lighter, then our dill emulsion is basically a dill-flavoured mayonnaise that we put on top,” he said. “You don’t want to get too far away from the traditional (lobster roll) but at the same time, you want to do something you wouldn’t see everyday.”
Festival host, Chef Michael Smith, said the festival was a celebration of all things lobster.
“It’s all about celebrating the hard work in P.E.I.’s lobster fishery,” said Smith. “And dare I say, we’ve got the best freaking lobster on the planet and it’s because of our fishermen and generations of hard work.”