Alaska Airlines hosted their annual Copper Chef Cook-Off at their Alaska Air Cargo facility in Seattle, WA, on Friday, May 18. The airline partnered with Seattle-based Trident Seafoods to host the airline's ninth annual cook-off event. Every year, Alaska Air Cargo partners with the state of Alaska's three largest seafood processors—Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and Copper River Seafoods—to bring the coveted fish to Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska; where it will then be delivered to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest, and across the country.
Alaska 9626 touched down in Seattle to a cheerful crowd of Alaska Airlines Employees, distinguished guests and members of the media. For the first time in the event's nine-year history, the airline chose to operate the special flight with their special "Salmon-Thirty-Salmon" painted Boeing 737-800 (N559AS). The aircraft carried 16,000 pounds of fresh Copper River salmon from Alaska's Merle K. (Mudhole) Smith Airport in Cordova, Alaska, to the airline's Seattle base of operations. Following the special flight, two additional cargo flights carrying 32,000 pounds of the tasty-fish arrived at Alaska's cargo facilities.
"Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices," said Jason Berry, Managing Director at Alaska Air Cargo. "Our Cargo employees are working around the clock to ensure we deliver the first catch of the coveted wild Copper River salmon to market, often within 24 hours of being pulled from the water." Alaska Air Cargo transports more than 170 million pounds of cargo annually—including seafood, mail, and freight—and operates the most extensive air cargo operation on the U.S. West Coast of any passenger airline.
Following Alaska Airlines Captain Michael Adams presented the jovial crowd with the first fish of the season (a 45-pound King Salmon), three chefs prepared for the cook-off itself. The three chefs—John Sundstrom, Paul Duncan, and Chris Bryant—prepared three tasty and stylish dishes for competition.
Fish fanatics looking to create a delicious masterpiece can find the recipes to the dishes here.