Greg Hough, right, executive chef of the Petroleum Club of Anchorage, was the people’s choice for best creativity in preparing fresh wild Copper River sockeye salmon for the 2023 Salmon Season Kickoff hosted by Copper River Seafoods on Saturday, May 20. With Hough are Sheri Underwood, general manager of the Petroleum Club, and kitchen staffer Benjamin Young. Photo by Jared Moser

Dozens of wild Alaska salmon aficionados turned out in Anchorage on Saturday to help Copper River Seafoods celebrate the Copper River commercial salmon season kickoff, complete with a chefs’ competition, music and lot of fresh sockeye treats to sample. 

After much enthusiastic sampling, event participants awarded the people’s choice award for best chef to executive chef Greg Hough of the Petroleum Club of Alaska, based on creativity, taste and presentation. His winning entry was Asian cured fresh wild Copper River sockeye salmon and a salmon tartar with pickled ginger vinaigrette with radish and coleslaw.

The offerings on a clear plastic spoon accented the flavor of the fresh wild sockeye itself, which Hough said was exactly what he set out to do. His awarded included a plaque and a 50-pound wild Copper River king salmon.

Chef Theresa Groeneweg of Great Land Events created blackened sockeye salmon sliders, which featured sockeye salmon rubbed with a house blackened seasoning on a house bun with slaw and aioli with pickle or olive. Chef Troy Tupper of Sullivan’s Steak House offered Korean salmon bites, a creation made from gochujang glazed salmon with cucumber pickled red onion, wasabi crème fraiche, sesame and chive.

Two chefs from Bridge Seafood Restaurant also competed. Chef Patrick Hoogerhyde prepared grilled wild Copper River sockeye with roasted street corn relish. His entry included sockeye salmon with cilantro, citrus vinaigrette, cojita cheese and roasted street corn.

Bridge chef Lexa Joy Gokey prepared a simple grilled wild Copper River sockeye salmon with Matanuska potato salad. Ingredients included Alaska red potatoes, fresh rocket, pickled red onions, fresh haricot verts, lemon, and stoneground mustard vinaigrette.


The annual celebration hosted by Copper River Seafoods also featured music, drinks and door prizes, including a 50-pound Copper River king salmon, Alaska Airlines tickets, and gift certificates for the Petroleum Club and Sullivan’s Steak House.