Music and shellfish in quantity and quality at 2023 Clammin’ & Jammin’

Chef Robert Pendergast

Those who love to sample Island shellfish and listen to energetic Acadian music will be able to get their fill if they attend the 14th edition of the culinary and celebratory Clammin’ & Jammin’ event at the Village musical acadien (VMA) in Abram-Village on Sept. 16 starting at 6 pm.

“We’ll be honoured to welcome two renowned bilingual chefs from the Island’s Acadian community – Chef Greg Arsenault and Chef Robert Pendergast – to collaborate with our cooks in preparing a wide range of refined seafood dishes of all kinds and all of the highest quality,” says VMA president Marcel Bernard. “In fact, we’ll have even more different kinds of samples than in the past. On the menu, there will obviously be bar clam dishes, but also lobster, scallop, oyster, quahaug, mussel, cod and salmon dishes. There will also be a few surprises.”

In all, participants will receive samples of about a dozen different magnificent dishes, served throughout the evening. “Participants will leave with a full belly and a joyous heart,” promises the president.

Bernard also adds that the cooking competition, which is returning this year, will not only be reserved for clam dishes, but will also be open to different kinds of shellfish. Local chefs and cooks will compete for the right to proclaim that their culinary creation is the champion of the year. A few lucky audience members will be chosen as judges.

Chef Greg Arsenault

Chef Greg Arsenault, himself a former champion of the 2015 Clammin’ & Jammin’ Clam Dishes Competition, is well-known in the Island’s culinary scene. He is completing his second summer as owner and chef of the popular La Rose Bistro restaurant in Cavendish’s Avonlea Village. A 2010 graduate of the Culinary Institute of Canada, Chef Arsenault has cooked at a variety of highly reputed restaurants over the years, including Fox Harbour Golf Resort and Spa in Pugwash, NS, and Five Fishermen in Halifax, NS. After returning to his native Evangeline region, Chef Arsenault worked as sous chef at The Home Place and Broadway 45 in Kensington, and as head chef at Blue Mussel Café in North Rustico, among other establishments. In 2015, his creation “The Cabbage Patch” won first prize in the provincial Burger Love competition. But this chef is best known for his wonderful seafood dishes.

Chef Robert Pendergast spent several years studying cooking and working in kitchens in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, as well as in several locations in Poland, France and Holland. Back on the Island, he set up a mobile catering business, always ready to travel from one end of the Island to the other (and even to other provinces) to serve his large clientele. He’s often seen at oyster stands serving oysters to the public. Among his most prestigious customers: Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, when they paid a royal visit to the Island in 2011 (the Culinary Institute of Canada hired him for the occasion). He can be seen at events ranging from the East Coast Music Awards to 250-person weddings to special events at the Carrefour de l’Isle-Saint-Jean. This extroverted chef, a native of St-Louis, is never shy about offering a few traditional Acadian or Celtic songs.

As people take time to digest the numerous samples, they’ll be treated throughout the evening to great music by several local musical performers.

Keeping the fun moving throughout the evening will be Abram-Village actor-playwright-director Raymond J. Arsenault, a well-known personality from the community who will serve as emcee for a second year in a row. He’ll contribute a bit of humor and zest to the event.

Clammin’ & Jammin’ tickets must be purchased in advance at www.villagemusical.com.