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Original 28 Chef Competitors pared down to two: Edward Sura from Perennial Virant, Chicago, IL & Sarah Schafer from Irving Street Kitchen, Portland, OR

Gold River, B.C. (April 16, 2014) — The Finalists have been determined. After eight grueling first round competitions pitting 28 chefs followed by two Semi Final battles featuring the remaining eight chefs, the best two chefs emerged and will now travel to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY to battle in the Final on April 30, 2014. Both finalists will also appear on behalf of Skuna Bay at the Taste of Derby, the Kentucky Derby culinary event on May 1st.

Winning the Eastern Semi Final competition on April 14,2014 at Sullivan University in Louisville, KY was Chef Edward Sura from legendary Chicago restaurant Perennial Virant. Chef Edward presented an almost perfect execution of seared Skuna Bay Salmon crusted with smoked and ground Bluegrass soy mash and home pickled baby corn relish. Chef Edward narrowly beat out other competitors Charles Vogt of Mussel Bar and Grill at Revel Hotel in Atlantic City; Alan Peet of Isabela’s on Grandview in Pittsburgh and Alan Dancyger, chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City.

The next day, on April 15th at Roy’s Pasadena, Chef Sarah Schafer, Executive Chef at Irving Street Kitchen in Portland, Oregon beat an incredibly strong and talented field of chefs to win the Western Semi Final event. Chef Sarah’s dish, a 90 minute cured Skuna Bay Salmon with salmon belly potato latkes and Skuna Bay caviar was the winning plate over strong competitors Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow in Santa Ana, CA; Lon Symensma of ChoLon Bistro in Denver, CO; and Tedd Romero of Lucy at Bardessono Hotel in Yountville, CA.

A photo and bio of each chef can be found at

“This was an incredibly strong and talented field,” said Dave Mergle of Skuna Bay Salmon. “The most impressive thing this year was seeing how vastly different and unique each dish was. Naturally we appreciated seeing what great, talented chefs can do in the kitchen under pressure but even more gratifying is that the competing chefs presented the salmon in such different ways that showed how versatile our salmon can be. Most exciting was that we have two finalists each of whom got there different ways: Chef Edward with a new twist on a classical preparation of grilled salmon; Chef Sarah with the challenge of curing her salmon in 90 minutes and using many different parts in various components. The final will be amazing!”

Judging at the the events was Chef Levon Wallace from Proof on Main in Louisville, Chef Kevin Ashworth of Milkwood in Louisville and Chef David Dodd from Sullivan University in Louisville, KY. At the Pasadena event, judges were Chef Ian Gresik from Drago Centro in Los Angeles, Monica Olaes from Roy’s Pasadena and Chef Michael Rossi from The Ranch in Anaheim, CA.

The Skuna Bay Salmon Chef Challenge was developed to involve chefs from around America and connect them to the Kentucky Derby partnership where Skuna Bay was selected as Salmon of Choice. Chefs were invited to enter their best Skuna Bay Salmon dish at and from there 28 were selected to compete. Eight different first round competitions were held in Seattle, Orange County, Napa Valley, Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia, with each chef having 90 minutes to fillet their salmon, prepare their dish and present it to the judges. The winning chef at each event moved on to the semi-finals in Louisville on April 14 at Sullivan University Culinary Arts School and April 15 at Roy’s Pasadena in Los Angeles. The winner at each of those two competitions now advance to the Kentucky Derby final competition April 30 at Sullivan Culinary Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner will be named that night at a special event at Churchill Downs immediately following the Chairman’s Draw Party and will be recognized nationally in Saveur Magazine. Judging at the Final event will be two of America’s top chefs, both well known as leaders in the culinary profession. The two Chef Judges will be announced later in April.

Skuna Bay Salmon was selected by the Kentucky Derby as the Salmon of Choice at this year’s 140th race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. To date, Skuna Bay Salmon is used by well-known chefs from across America including Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja and Euclid Hall in Denver, Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat in Chicago, Jonathan Sawyer of Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Dan Kluger of ABC Cucina in New York, Tyler Wiard of Elways in Denver, Ed Brown of Ed’s Chowderhouse in New York and Randy Waidner, Executive Chef for Gibsons in Chicago. For more information, please visit Follow Skuna Bay on Twitter at @SkunaBay.