Local chef representing state in national seafood contest
Photo by Elan Mizrahi Chef Jackie Page will be representing Pennsylvania in a national seafood contest in New Orleans.
By Jamie Wiggan
Jackie Page of McKees Rocks will represent the Keystone State in an Aug. 7 face-off against 12 acclaimed chefs from around the country.
Page is returning to New Orleans to compete in the Great American Seafood Contest for the second time, after a debut appearance in 2019. As per contest rules, she was nominated to represent her state by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
Page hopes to woo the panel of judges with servings of lightly-baked lattice rainbow and steelhead trout accompanied by honey-glazed carrots, black quinoa and a rich mushroom ragu.
Fresh supplies from Wholey’s Fish Market in the Strip District (a Pittsburgh-based vendor, whose original store opened in McKees Rocks in 1912) and a sample of locally-grown vegetables will be flown out to meet her.
“I’d love to win, but the experience is so nice,” she said. “It’s such a great time.”
After many years of struggling to rise through the ranks in the food industry, Page earned a culinary arts diploma from the Community College of Allegheny County in 2009 and launched her own catering company shortly after. In between, she served a brief stint as a chef at Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille, a restaurant connected with Strip District fish market.
Page moved to McKees Rocks in 2018 after making plans to open Love Rocks Cafe, a day-time restaurant based inside the Father Ryan Arts Center.
She tries to offer healthy and affordable dining choices for local residents, and supports her work at the cafe by taking on outside catering contracts.
Page got to know Fetterman while he was Braddock’s mayor and his wife, Giselle, was involved in food-related outreach initiatives around the region. Since then, the culinary school graduate has been called back to cater for Fetterman birthday parties, fundraisers and campaign events.
“Now, Giselle’s like ‘you’re my chef,’” Page said.