By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has joined producers of the Ninth Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off to pose the following challenge to each state across America: Send your best chef to New Orleans where the finest seafood chef in America will be crowned. Governor Jindal has sent letters to his 49 fellow governors asking them to appoint a chef to represent their state at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, set to take place on Saturday, August 11, 2012 in New Orleans.
“We are pleased to have Governor Jindal’s support as we assemble a field of accomplished chefs who will bring a taste of their region to our annual celebration of domestic seafood,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and the creator of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off.
Smith added, “Each year we welcome chefs from various states and I am excited to welcome an entirely new collection of culinary talent to this August’s competition.”
The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is the most prestigious seafood cooking competition in the country. The first Cook-Off took place in the summer of 2004 and the event has attracted celebrity chefs and up-and-coming culinary stars ever since. The competition celebrates domestic seafood and encourages the use of product from sustainable fisheries.
In addition, Great American Seafood Cook-Off organizers have joined forces with 4-H to arrange for a youth-oriented Cook-Off that will be held in the same arena on Sunday, August 5th. The youth organization is working to send 4-H’ers from several states, including South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas, to demonstrate their culinary skills. 4-H will require its young chefs to detail nutritional information and present seafood dishes totaling 500 or fewer calories.
Chef John Besh won the first The Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2004 with a dish of Pan Roasted Louisiana Blackfish with Corn, Crab and Caviar. The 2011 Cook-Off Crown went to Jim Smith, executive chef of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion, who prepared a dish entitled “Late Summer Alabama Bounty” that featured Gulf Shrimp and Blue Crab.
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is the chief sponsor of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off and uses the event to highlight to American seafood consumers the agency’s management of the Nation’s marine ecosystems.
If you’re a chef who thinks you have what it takes to represent your home state at the Cook-Off, click here for information.