2011 Great American Seafood Cook-Off Results
Published: August 22, 2011
Chef Jim Smith, executive chef of the Alabama Governor’s Mansion, took first place at the eighth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans. He impressed the judges with a dish titled “Late Summer Alabama Bounty” that featured sous vide shrimp and marinated crab with garam masala, scented yellow squash puree, farmers market lady peas, bacon-peach relish and Spanish basil oil.
The event, sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, is known for pitting up-and-coming chefs against recognized culinary greats from throughout the United States. The chefs were asked to create unique dishes with domestic seafood, and utilize fish that’s native to their home states. Prior winners include John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS and John Besh of Restaurant August in New Orleans.
The 2010 King of American Seafood Chef Dean Max, executive chef at 3030 Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale, FL crowned Chef Smith King of American Seafood during the official awards presentation. Chef Bud Gruniger of North Carolina earned second prize with a red drum creation, and Chef Scott Anderson of New Jersey took home third prize with a dish featuring New Jersey fluke.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service is the annual event’s chief sponsor and uses the cook-off to highlight – to American seafood consumers – the agency’s commitment to a healthy marine environment and improving the nation’s domestic seafood supply.
Kevin Roberts, a chef/restaurant owner from Southern California and host of BBQ Pitmasters on TLC, co-hosted the Great American Seafood Cook-Off with John Folse, the chef known as Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.
Judges of the 2011 competition were: Chef Rick Moonen, an advocate for sustainable seafood, restaurateur, cookbook author and finalist in Top Chef Masters; Laura McIntosh, host of traveling cooking show Bringing It Home; Chef Roland Schaefer of the American Academy of Chefs; Patricia Mack of Gayot.com; Melissa Kogut, executive director of the Chefs Collaborative, and Will Blunt, managing editor of StarChefs.com.
Earlier this year, organizers of The Great American Seafood Cook-Off encouraged states to hold a qualifying round or appoint a chef to compete in the event. There were chefs representing 14 states such as: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. The 2011 Great American Seafood Cook Off is endorsed by the National Restaurant Association and will be audited by the National Fisheries Institute.
More information is available at www.GreatAmericanSeafoodCookoff.com