“The judges told us there was no doubt in their minds,” said Shucks Maine Lobster President John Hathaway. “They were unanimous in their decision that our raw fresh shucked Maine lobster meat was the Best New Product.”

Hathaway had traveled to Brussels on April 24th with Elafood, the Shucks’ European distributor, for the world’s largest seafood show: the European Seafood Exposition. This was the first time Shucks had entered its product in the Exposition, and of only five awards given, it won Best New Product and Most Convenient New Seafood Product. April marked the month Shucks had been in business for one year.

According to Hathaway, the entrants present their products to the exposition’s chef — the Exposition has its own chef present the products to the judges. Using Shucks’ raw fresh Maine lobster meat, the chef made Lobster Tartare. Hathaway said the dish is like Ceviche, a Spanish dish of raw seafood mixed with a bit of citrus juice, such as lemon or lime.

“It’s always nice to be validated by European chefs,” Hathaway said, adding, “I’m particularly happy for Maine lobstermen who need more markets to be opened up and to show that we can add value here in Maine; that’s the big issue right there.”

Winning such awards gives the product immediate acceptance for European chefs, Hathaway said, “As a world-class product. It’s another indication that Maine lobster is a revered product around the world. It opens up new markets for Maine lobstermen.”

Asked why he thought it opens up markets for Maine lobstermen rather than dealers, he replied that lobstermen are the ones who catch the product. “Selling live lobster is limited by how far you can ship it,” he said. He explained the problem of live lobster’s short shelf life and the expense of shipping lobster in the shell, adding, “It’s the only raw, fresh, shucked Maine lobster meat in the world”

— Sandra Dinsmore