Education Blog

Seafood Throwdown: Whitney Kids and Families Team Up With Artist Collective Spurse and Colors Restaurant for a Fish Cook Off
Jun 14, 2010

A sign advertising the seafood event

The Seafood Throwdown was held at the Greenmarket Farmers Market, and was a collobartion between the Whitney, spurse, the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and GrowNYC/Greenmarkets. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke

On June 5, members of the artist collective, spurse, faced off against Chef Teresa Montano of Colors Restaurant for a Seafood Throwdown at the Union Square Greenmarket Farmers Market. But instead of working with other cooks, Whitney kids and families helped the chefs shop for, prepare, and of course taste the dishes!

The throwdown was organized on the occasion of the Whitney’s Independent Studies Program exhibition at the Kitchen.  It is part of spurse’s larger project, which explores the relationships between marine ecosystems, economics, fisheries, and consumers through educational events, interventions, and investigations. Spurse organized the throwdown in collaboration with Niaz Dorry from the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and Liz Carollo from GrowNYC, along with Whitney Family Programs. 

Below watch a slideshow of the event, with photographs by Tiffany Oelfke. 

By Sarah Meller, Interpretation and Research Assistant 

  • A chalkboard sign for the event

    Kids were separated into two teams, one led by spurse members Petia Morozov and Iain Kerr and the other by Chef Teresa Montano from Colors restaurant.

  • A fisherman holds his catch

    At the beginning of the competition, the mystery ingredient—sea bass—was revealed by the fisherman himself, Phil Karlin from Long Island.

  • A team shopping at the farmers market

    Teams quickly strategized and the kids were sent off with one hundred dollars to spend at the Greenmarket on all other ingredients they would need to prepare their dishes. Here two kids buy some homemade sausages.

  • A family looks at fresh produce

    During the twenty-minute shopping spree, kids raced through the stands of the Greenmarket with their families, frantically trying to find flavorful and creative ingredients for their sea bass recipes. They found fresh herbs like cilantro and mint, as well as beautiful vegetable like these radishes.

  • A child dices carrots

    Each team then had one hour to prepare two dishes and use up every part of the fish they had been given. While the kids got busy measuring, cleaning, and peeling, chefs chopped, grilled, and fried as fast as they could. Here a member of the Colors team peels some carrots.

  • Kids using fresh ingredients

    Kids on the spurse team worked hard to measure and prepare all of the ingredients for their stuffed sea bass.

  • A chef tosses a dish in a pan

    The teams also had to think quickly when ingredients they hoped to use were not available; they were required to use only in season, locally grown produce. While Chef Teresa originally wanted to use wild cherries in her ceviche, strawberries were in season and the team had to think fast to change up their recipe. Here she fries up some ingredients.

  • A child cleans out the inside of a fish

    The rules also stipulated that each group must use the entire fish, so the teams got creative and made things like seafood stock that allowed them to use the head and guts. Kids helped to get every last bit out!

  • The judges taste the final results

    Teams worked until the last second, when they had to present their dishes to the judging panel made up of Food Network sous chef, Miriam Garron; Food Network Magazine recipe developer, Claudia Scott; Greenmarket/GrowNYC’s Executive Director, Marcel VanOoyen; and Long Island fisherman, Phil Karlin. Restaurant owner Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 was the MC of the event.

  • Adding up the final results of the competition

    The scores were tabulated for each team.

  • Seafood creatopm on white plates

    Chef Teresa’s team presented a ceviche with mint and strawberries as well as a seafood paella.

  • A seafood dish presented in a white bowl

    The team led by members of spurse made a stuffed sea bass and a salad with edible flowers.

  • The audience samples the seafood cuisine

    While the judges discussed the food, the public got to try all of the tasty creations.

  • Kids taste their recipe

    Finally the verdicts were in, with the Colors Restaurant team winning for taste, and spurse’s team winning for presentation, creativity, and their use of the entire fish. Then both teams of kids got to dig in and enjoy their delicious, fresh dishes!