CAMBRIDGE — Downtown Cambridge will play host to the 14th annual Taste of Cambridge at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 13, on Poplar and Race streets.
The street festival, which hosts more than 2,000 attendees annually, will feature a slate of participating restaurants and dish entries.
This year’s edition will include some interesting additions like the snakehead fish category. Snakehead fish quickly have become a staple in local Dorchester County waterways, especially in the Blackwater watershed where fish are known to spawn up to three times a year and protect their eggs. Anglers are coming from all over the mid-Atlantic region to fish for this slippery creature, and some liken the meat to local striped bass, otherwise known as rockfish.
“The name isn’t too appealing, but we hear the fish is delicious,” Downtown Cambridge Executive Director Katie Clendaniel said. “It’s now showing up on local restaurant menus, and we wanted to help introduce it to more folks hoping it would encourage them to try it out and draw attention to the local delicacy. Blue crab still remains the focus of the cook-off.”
The Taste of Cambridge will feature a panel of three judges, including Dorchester County native Kevin Scott, and Chesapeake culinary cookbook and television personality John Shields. The third judge is Chef Mary Kiernan, now a professor at Syracuse University who previously owned and operated Elm Street Café and Catering in Cortland, N.Y., and worked as catering manager of the Carrier Dome — a 48,000-seat sports complex.
The judge’s panel will do a blind tasting of each dish and award a judges’ choice winner in each category. Judges will select their favorite in each category based on scoring of flavor, presentation and more.
Categories at this year’s Crab Cook-Off include crabcake/ball, crab soup, crab dip and crab specialty.
The street festival is free, but you must have a ticket to taste all the dishes. Ticket-holders can redeem their ticket on the day of the event for a special tasting ballot. Ticket-holders can taste, compare and vote for their favorite in each category. The ballots then are tallied up following the event, and winners are awarded in each dish category.
Tickets to Taste of Cambridge are $30 in advance or $35 at the event, based on availability. Tickets normally sell out on the day of the event, and organizers recommend buying tickets in advance.
More information including participants, categories, schedule of events and how to buy tickets can be found at www.downtowncam bridge.org or call Downtown Cambridge at 443-477-0843.