GREAT AMERICAN SEAFOOD COOK-OFF AUG. 2-3 IN NEW ORLEANS

Release Date: 07/28/2008

The Fifth Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off is this Saturday, Aug. 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center located in downtown New Orleans.


Just by making it to the big show, the 14 competitors have already proven their merit.  Each chef has been personally selected by the governor of his state to represent the essence of each state's cuisine.  These renowned chefs will be preparing their dishes for all to see, and the fish will most definitely be flying as they utilize exotic seafood indigenous to their states. 


Washington, D.C. takes a stand on the issue of sustainability by sending along Barton Seaver from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Andre Bienvenu of the renowned Joe's Stone Crab will be showcasing all that Florida is 'cracked' up to be, while Paul Anders of Colorado's acclaimed Sweet Basil Restaurant will bring Rocky Mountain pride to the Crescent City.


Everything big comes from Texas, so Mark Holley of Pesce Restaurant will lasso some jumbo shrimp to the plate.  Alaska's Rob Kinneen of Orso will "sock" it to us with the finest salmon, but watch your left as Joel Sardinha of The Left Bank in North Carolina packs in the flavor with freshly caught spotted sea trout.


Having graced the kitchen of the White House, Tafari Campbell is 'well-seasoned' to prepare Maryland blue crab as never tasted before, and renowned chef John Currence is prepared to show what makes Mississippi's City Grocery restaurant such a hot spot.


Then there is always the hometown-boy or girl chef to spice it up, and in this case Brian Landry of the famed Galatoire's restaurant will have all watching him for local Louisiana flair.


The other five chefs in the contest are Dean Thomas, Barona Valley Ranch & Casino, California; Michael Taylor, Sazerac, Illinois; Jasper Mirabile, Jr., Jasper's Restaurant, Kansas; Michael Riggs, Bowling Green Technical College, Kentucky; and Peter Fischbach, Gourmet Dining Service, New Jersey. 


But, only five out of these 14 chefs will survive day one and compete for the top prize on day two.


Of course, these chefs are going to have some pretty serious mouths to impress! Prestigious connoisseurs from across the nation are bringing their appetites and their highly discerning palates. 


The distinguished panel of gourmands will consist of: Editor of Serious Eats Zach Brooks; Sant?agazine's Ed Mueller; Dr. Roy Crabtree of Washington, D.C.'s NOAA; Chef and 2006 Cook-Off winner Justin Timineri of the Florida Department of Agriculture; Chef and Owner Jody Denton of Merenda Restaurant and Wine Bar in Oregon; and the Dean of Chicago's School of Culinary Arts of Kendall College Chris Koetke. 


On the second day of competition, one of the eliminated chefs from day one will join the panel to become the seventh judge.  And, of course, the 2007 King of American Seafood, Chef Tim Thomas of The Ocean Forest Club at Sea Island, Georgia, will be on hand to crown this year's champion. 


Tickets available at the event for $10 (must be 18 years or older to purchase a ticket).


For more information contact Ashley Roth at 228-342-0659 or aroth@wlf.louisiana.gov.


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