US: Chefs vie for top culinary honour cooking farm-raised fish –

US: Chefs vie for top culinary honour cooking farm-raised fish Published:  16 January, 2008

Jamie Oliver

THE first and only cobia being raised at inland facilities in the US was featured on a recent episode of Food Network’s Iron Chef America series. The episode aired from January 6 through January 13.

The farm-raised cobia, developed through a joint venture of MariCal of Portland, Maine and Blue Ridge Aquaculture of Martinsville, Virginia, was selected by Food Network to be the “secret ingredient” on the Iron Chef America episode, where British chef Jamie Oliver competed against series regular Iron Chef Mario Batali in Kitchen Stadium.

Cobia, a saltwater species in its natural environment, is usually found in warm equatorial waters including the Eastern shores of Virginia and North Carolina as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. But beginning in May 2007, the delicious cobia have been grown and harvested in landlocked Saltville, Virginia by the joint venture company Virginia Cobia Farms, owned by MariCal and Blue Ridge Aquaculture.

Virginia Cobia Farms supplied Food Network with fresh cobia fillets for cooking, as well as a variety of live fish to swim in a tank near the chefs as they worked.

According to H. William Harris, MD, Ph.D., MariCal’s president and chief scientific officer of Virginia Cobia Farms: “Cobia is an ideal fish for this type of demanding culinary competition. It’s versatile enough to be featured in a multitude of recipes because its fine flavor profile complements a wide array of cooking alternatives, sauces, and seasonings. It’s also an incredibly healthy fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and that’s produced under strictly controlled, contaminate-free, and sustainable methods.”

Mario Batali was the ultimate winner of the competition, as he skillfully prepared the Cobia in a full range of dishes – from sushi to fish & chips, and everything in between. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.