Meet Our 2017 Claw Down Judges!


Meet our first 2017 Claw Down Maine Lobster Bite Competition Judge, Chris Papagni

Chris was the former Executive Vice President of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He is currently a food writer and hospitality consultant in Portland, Maine.

Chris is affiliated with the James Beard Foundation and serves on the board for several culinary organizations in Portland






Meet our second Claw Down Judge, Arlin Smith

Arlin Smith earned his Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

After making his mark in the Hudson Valley, he then set his sights on Portland. A tasting menu at Hugo’s under former Chef Rob Evans prompted the fortuitous move. He was hired soon thereafter and later became an owner in 2012. He enjoys being a player in the Portland restaurant scene. Arlin also co-own’s Eventide Oyster Company and Honey Paws in Portland.





Meet our third Judge, Maine Foodie Tours Founder, Pamela Laskey

Pamela just received the U.S. Small Business Administration’s – Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award for Maine for 2017.

Maine Foodie Tours was founded in 2009 and has grown to more than twenty employees. The company features educational, entertaining and tasty tours showcasing local, sustainable foods and the rich culinary artistry and entrepreneurial talent in Maine. The company works with restaurant owners, chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, fish handlers, brewers and more to offer amazing food and stories to their guests.





Meet our fourth and final Judge, Diane Hudson

As a food and features writer and photographer creating in Portland Maine for the past 20 years (Portland Magazine, Zagat and others), Diane Hudson has reveled in the constant progression of the number of restaurants and quality of exquisite culinary fare to be savored in this wondrous state (which she discovered fortuitously while on a graduate fellowship to the University of Maine at Orono). Her introduction to lobster in Maine is most memorable: “Sister Bev, a roommate majoring in Biology, accompanied me to my first lobster shack visit (and first taste of lobster). She went through every part of the critter, literally dissecting while I was, at the same time devouring the beast with undying passion.”