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Louisiana Seafood News
Louisiana Seafood News

Lt. Gov. Dardenne, Seafood Board Announce Best Seafood Chef

Florida chef wins Great American Seafood Cook-Off

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne announced Florida chef Terry White as the winner of the 2014 Great American Seafood Cook-Off, held today in New Orleans. Chef White took the title with his country ham-crusted Gulf cobia with spiny lobster gyoza, caramelized baby bok choi and a Florida orange and saffron emulsion. Coming in second place was chef Larry Delgado of Texas with his Texas Two-Step. Louisiana chef Aaron Burgau took third with his sauteed grouper, grilled Gulf shrimp, sweet corn sabayon, charred okra and smoked Creole vinaigrette.

“We enjoyed hosting the 18 chefs competing for the coveted title of America’s Best Seafood Chef. Congratulations to Chef White 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 11th 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’m honored to be in New Orleans competing against all these accomplished chefs, but I never lost confidence in my Gulf cobia,” White, executive chef of Sage Restaurant in Tallahassee, Fla., said. “I knew if I could just get it on a plate for the judges, they would recognize the quality of the dish.”

Many states hold their own seafood cook-offs in spring and early summer to qualify chefs to compete in New Orleans. Chefs in 2014 represented Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

For the third consecutive year, organizers will join with 4-H to host a youth cook-off tomorrow. Youth competitors are required to prepare seafood dishes less than 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