NMCC chef Rob Ottaviano is preparing for what is shaping up to be the greatest competition of his life! Ottaviano has been chosen as a semi-finalist in the World’s Best Lobster Roll competition to be held at this summer’s Down East Lobster Roll Festival.
“While we’re not exactly a Down East restaurant, I’m thrilled to stack my recipe alongside the best of the best!” said Ottaviano. “It’s definitely a David and Goliath battle, but being the underdog will only make us work harder!!
Dozens of lobster roll restaurants and vendors from across the country applied for the competition and 12 semi-finalists were selected, including NMCC. Ottaviano says he entered the competition on a whim after reading about it in Down East magazine.
“I shared my recipe and explained that it is served on very special occasions at the Community College. Officials at Down East sampled the roll and later informed me that it had been chosen among the semi-finalists,” Ottaviano explained. “I was floored as the only finalist from northern Maine and the only college represented. It’s quite an honor and I hope this event will bring attention to Aroostook, Northern Maine Community College and the wonderful local vendors that supply my ingredients.”
Ottaviano will be competing against the finest seafood restaurants in Maine as well as Los Angeles, Arizona, Utah and New York City. Each semi-finalist must make 250 lobster rolls for attendees to sample in order to vote for their favorite. The top three finalists go on to the main stage where expert judges will crown the winner.
“We think it’s fantastic that Northern Maine Community College could soon be home to the World’s Best Lobster Roll!” said NMCC President Tim Crowley. “We have every faith that Rob has the recipe for success and will be a strong competitor at the festival. NMCC is very fortunate to have a chef of his caliber and creativity…especially when it comes to crustaceans!”
The festival will take place on Saturday, July 8 at Thompsons’s Point in Portland. The winner will enjoy the title of “World’s Best Lobster Roll 2017,” a trophy and a one-page congratulatory ad in Down East magazine.