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Louisiana Seafood News
Louisiana Seafood News

2014 Great American Cook-Off Announced

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are hosting the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, in New Orleans. Eighteen chefs from throughout the U.S. will compete for the highly coveted crown honoring the best seafood chef in the nation.

“Seafood plays such a huge part in our culinary history and culture, and seafood dishes created in Louisiana can be found worldwide,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “We’re excited to welcome such prestigious chefs who will demonstrate their creativity using their states’ native seafood.”

The event will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and is open to the public. Tickets are $5 in advance at the Broad Street, Arabella Station, Veterans Memorial (Metairie) and Towne Center (Baton Rouge) Whole Foods locations, or $10 at the door. Judges for this year’s contest include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana in New York; Kris Moon from the James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and vice president of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at CIA-San Antonio and Susie Selby from Selby Winery.

Many states hold their own cook-offs in spring and early summer to qualify chefs to compete in New Orleans. Participating chefs in this year’s event will represent Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The Great American Seafood Cook-Off, which is dedicated to promoting sustainable and domestic fisheries, first took place in the summer of 2004 when New Orleans chef John Besh took the title. The 2013 Cook-Off Crown went to chef David Crews from Mississippi. Chef Crews prepared a Southern Nicoise Salad featuring lump crab meat and seared tuna.

For the third consecutive year, organizers will join with 4-H to host a youth cook-off on the Sunday following the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Youth competitors are required to prepare seafood dishes under 500 calories. Teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi (two teams), Oklahoma and Texas will compete.

Previous winners of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off include:

  • 2013 - David Crews, Mississippi
  • 2012 - Gregory Gourdet, Oregon
  • 2011 - Jim Smith, Alabama
  • 2010 - Dean Max, Florida
  • 2009 - Tory McPhail, Louisiana
  • 2008 - John Currence, Mississippi
  • 2007 - Tim Thomas, Georgia
  • 2006 - Justin Timineri, Florida
  • 2005 - Randy Evans, Texas
  • 2004 - John Besh, Louisiana