The first Copper River salmon of the season arrives to Seattle on N764AS
As I headed to the eighth annual Alaska Airlines Copper River Cook Off I was excited, but a little nervous about my story angle. For six years I shared a pretty similar story about the first Copper River salmon of the season being flown down from Alaska. How the huge (and delicious) fish is walked off the plane, cut up, cooked by a few fancy restaurants, and one dish is chosen as the winner. Do not get me wrong, I have loved every year participating, but I didn’t want to be that guy, telling the same story over and over again.
- Kiss the fish!
- Unloading delicious cargo
Last year I was pretty darn lucky to get a chance to fly up to Cordova, Alaska, watch all the boats go out to get the fish, and follow the fish back to Seattle and into my belly. Even with all my airline adventures, I have to say flying with the fishies has been one of my favorites (flying with fishies good, sleeping with fishies bad).
Last Friday, I was still very sleepy when I got to the Alaska Air Cargo parking lot at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport waiting for this year’s plane to land. I started chatting with Halley Knigge, Alaska Airlines Media + Content Editor, and she mentioned that Alaska was retiring their first 737-400 Combi (half cargo, half passengers, all 737) out of their fleet the following week (aka this week). Oh thank you once again AvGeek Writing Gods… I had my angle.
- Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combi (N764AS) arrives at Sea-Tac.
- After landing, the captain brings out the lucky salmon.
- 24,300 pounds of salmon are unloaded from the Boeing 737-400 Combi.
- The Chefs are ready to cook up the Salmon.
- The Salmon-3-Salmon Boeing 737 (N792AS) was present to watch the event.
- The salmon get fileted right after de-planing.
- Judges try the different salmon dishes.
- Medals are handed out – everyone is a winner.
All photos done by Tad Carlson/NYCAviation – Click any for larger view.
Today Seattle welcomed Alaska Air Cargo’s Boeing 737-400 Combi (N764AS), containing 12 tons of Copper River Salmon, which is a favorite of fish connoisseurs.
One lucky fish was donated by Ocean Beauty Seafood to be cooked up for Alaska Airline’s second annual Copper Chef Cook Off Competition. The large fish was carried off the plane by the captain and in the open market it would be worth about $1000.
Three Seattle area restaurants, Anthony’s, Elliott’s Oyster House and SkyCity at the Needle, did their best to wow the VIP judges. At the judging table were Jay Buhner, Seattle Mariner Hall of Famer, Mike Fourtner, deckhand on the F/V Time Bandit on the Discovery Channel’s “The Deadliest Catch” and Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing.
Local Seattle celebrity John Curley provided humor and commentary while the cooks had 30 minutes to cook their best salmon. Although all three restaurants created delicious dishes for the judges and guests, Anthony’s held on to their title as Best Copper Chef of 2011.
The three recipes prepared for the Copper Chef Cook-off are available to download on Alaska’s website and fish lovers are encouraged to share their own favorite salmon recipes on Twitter, using the hashtag #CRsalmon.
Along with Alaska employees and invited media, Alaska MVP members who donated 75,000 miles to the Make-a-Wish foundation were invited to celebrate the arrival of the salmon and get a taste of each recipe.
Alaska Airlines is no stranger to flying seafood. Last year, they flew more than 22 million pounds of Alaskan seafood to the continental US, including almost 350 tons of Copper River Salmon.
“We’re proud to bring this prized, wild Copper River salmon to the Lower 48 and points beyond,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “With enhanced food quality procedures and additional flights to support the Alaska seafood industry, we are going the extra mile to deliver fresh seafood throughout the country.”
This story was a joint effort between AirlineReporter.com and NYCAviation.com