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Photo of the 2010 seafood dish - Click to enlarge
For Immediate Release: June 30, 2010
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher taste-tested a Jersey scallop, lobster and black bass dish prepared by chef Peter J. Fischbach at the Hospitality House at the New Jersey Restaurant Association Trenton office on Monday, June 28.

Fischbach, the executive chef and Food Service Director for Gourmet Dining Services at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark and a Toms River resident, held a practice session for the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans being held on August 7.  Fischbach and his sous chef, Erik Weatherspool, owner/chef of Bistro 44 in Toms River, will represent New Jersey in the competition.

“New Jersey scallops are the best in the world and are as synonymous with the Garden State as King Crab is with Alaska, so highlighting our scallops in the national seafood competition is a great choice,” said Secretary Fisher.  “Chef Peter’s dish, which also showcases Jersey lobster and Jersey black bass, as well as Jersey Fresh vegetables, is award-winning in my book.” 

Photo of Erik Weatherspool, Deborah Dowdell, Peter Fischbach and Secretary Fisher
Erik Weatherspool, Deborah Dowdell of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, Peter Fischbach and Secretary Fisher admire Peter and
Erik's dish

Fischbach and Weatherspool represented New Jersey in the Great American Seafood Cook-off in 2008 and 2009.  Last year, they came in second in the competition, just behind famous New Orleans chef, Tory McPhail, of Commander’s Palace.

“While our scallops dish last year was judged best tasting and looking, our oral presentation was edged out by the winner,” said Fischbach.  “We plan to highlight the sustainability of the seafood we are using, obtained from three separate ports in the state – the scallops from Viking Village in Barnegat Light, the black sea bass from Belford and the lobster from Point Pleasant.”

The Great American Seafood Cook-off is held during the Louisiana Foodservice Expo in the Morial Convention Center.  The champion will be named King or Queen of American Seafood.

The value of New Jersey’s 2008 seafood catch was $168.5 million.  The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that for every one dollar of landed value, six dollars are generated in the overall economy.

The top species by dollar value harvested in New Jersey included:  sea scallops; surf clams; oysters; hard clams; blue crabs; ocean quahogs; and, fluke.

For more information about New Jersey seafood, visit the Jersey Seafood website at