Dishing the Dungeness: Culinary students get feel of real-world eating at Crab Festival

PORT ANGELES — Students from the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center honed their crab cracking skills over the weekend as they shelled thousands of crustaceans at the seventh Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival.

The skills center’s culinary arts program students have joined the Crab Feed booth for several years now, but this year their participation was ramped up, said Steve McCabe, Crab Feed captain.

“This is the first year we’ve gotten them really involved,” he said, adding he will ask the students to join him again next year.

The additional support form skills center students got the meals out much quicker, said Scott Nagel, executive director of the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival, on Sunday.

“They can get a full crab meal out in about 30 seconds.

“And the crab cookers can make up about 400 and hour.”

Denise Dahll, culinary arts teacher, said the experience of serving up meals for the thousands of guests and working outside of a laboratory environment was helpful to the students.

“It gets them experience doing this stuff in the real world,” she said.

About 40 students volunteered their time throughout the festival.

“It has been really helpful to teach us how to work with people, and it is a lot of fun to work with food,” Kayla Twiggs, a senior student in the culinary arts program, said.

Twiggs said she hopes to break into the restaurant business working at the front of the house, more with the guests.

Kelly Robideau, a freshman in the program, said she hopes to work in the kitchen one day.

“We’re learning what it is like to really work at a restaurant,” Robideau said.

Some of them had never cooked Dungeness crab before showing up at the festival Friday night for the community feed sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News.

“On Friday, we got them out here and showed them how to shell it and cook it,” McCabe said.

Cooking crab is something that runs deep in McCabe’s history.

“I’ve known how to shell a crab since I was probably about 6,” he said.

“My dad used to crab, and we’d have it every Sunday.”

Sunny Farms Country Store of Carlsborg donated the corn served at the Crab Feed booth, Nagel said.

“So we decided to donate the cost of the corn back to the skills center,” Nagel said.

“So it is something that just keeps on giving.”

15,000 estimated at festival

Nagel estimates that more than 15,000 people attended the three-day festival, which concluded Sunday afternoon at the foot of Lincoln Street.

Thousands of crabs are caught and delivered to the festival just before and during the festival, he said.

“If someone has never had a crab that is fresh, they don’t know what they are missing,” Nagel said.

“It makes a world of difference.”

Next year, he said the festival is looking to attract some national attention by inviting food writers from various publications to attend.

“We really want to increase our national presence,” he said.

“We already have people from all over the place — but we would like to see even more.”


Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at [email protected]

More in Life

Developmental playgroup scheduled Saturday

Clallam County Parent to Parent and Clallam Mosaic will host… Continue reading

Jefferson County Food Bank Growers Network plant sale set

The Jefferson County Food Bank Growers Network will conduct… Continue reading

Margery Whites will present “Gardening for Newcomers” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
‘Gardening for Newcomers’ offered Saturday in Sequim

Margery Whites will present “Gardening for Newcomers” at 10:30 a.m.… Continue reading

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
A group of Revolutionary War re-enactors, playing part of British soldiers, fire their guns during a mock battle during the 2022 NW Colonial Festival at the George Washington Inn and Estate near Agnew. The eighth-annual event featured historical demonstrations, childrens activities, educational discussions about life in the 1700s and skirmishes between British Regulars and a colonial militia.
Ready, aim, history at Colonial Festival

A group of Revolutionary War re-enactors, playing part of British soldiers, fire… Continue reading

Sea star gazing classes at Fort Worden

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will host sea… Continue reading

Bag of Books sale this week in Port Angeles

The Port Angeles Friends of the Library will host… Continue reading

Cyclists with Bike and Build to join community dessert

Cyclists with Bike and Build will join a community… Continue reading

Walk and talk about seals on the beach set

Deisy Bach will lead a beach walk and discuss… Continue reading

Pictured, from left to right in the front row are John Yano, Darlene Gahring, Pat Gilbert, Kathy McCormick and Beverly Dawson. 

In the middle row, from left to right are Janet Russell, Wendy Blondin, Mary Kelsoe, Pam Ehtee, Jane Marks, Marcia Kellerand Melissa Hsu 

In the back row, from left to right, Leiann Niccoli, Mary Jacoby and Emily Murphy
Summer Green Thumb award winner named

The Port Angeles Garden Club has awarded its summer Green Thumb award… Continue reading

Most Read