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Louisiana Seafood News
Louisiana Seafood News

Lt. Gov. Dardenne, Seafood Board Announce America's Best Seafood Chef

Alaska chef wins Great American Seafood Cook-Off

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne announced Alaska chef Beau Schooler as the winner of the 2015 Great American Seafood Cook-Off, held Saturday at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Chef Schooler was named America’s Best Seafood Chef, and he will wear the crown of King of American Seafood, as his and sous chef Travis Hotch's Nose-To-Tail Sockeye Salmon recipe won over the judges. Coming in second place was chef Adam Evans of Georgia with his Roasted Spear-Caught Lionfish with Sapelo Island Clams. Louisiana chef Michael Brewer took third with his Louisiana Seafood Nachos.

“We enjoyed hosting the 12 chefs competing for the coveted title of America’s Best Seafood Chef. Congratulations to chef Schooler for captivating the judges’ taste buds among such a talented field,” Lt. Governor Dardenne said. “Beyond naming the best seafood chef, we also get to show off the exceptional quality of Gulf seafood and encourage the competitors to feature our products in their restaurants.”

In its 12th year, the Cook-Off is North America’s premier seafood cooking competition and is dedicated to promoting sustainable and domestic fisheries. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board holds the event annually in New Orleans through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I think we more than exceeded our expectations for this dish,” Schooler, owner of The Rookery Cafe in Juneau, Alaska, said. “We're definitely excited at the reception the judges gave the sockeye salmon. It is a beautiful fish but it is labor intensive--almost 10 minutes just to prep the fish. But I think that when prepared correctly, this is a fish that can really take off nationally.”

Many states hold their own seafood cook-offs where chefs qualify to compete in New Orleans. Chefs in 2015 represented Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.

For the fourth consecutive year, organizers will join with 4-H to host a youth cook-off Sunday. Competitors are required to prepare seafood dishes with no more than 750 calories, and teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas will compete.

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

  • 2014 - Terry White, Florida
  • 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