Chef Michael Brewer, of The Sammich restaurant in New Orleans, will represent Louisiana in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Brewer, who was crowned King of Louisiana Seafood in the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off on May 24 in New Orleans, is one of 12 chefs from throughout the country competing for the highly coveted title of America’s Best Seafood Chef. The competition, hosted by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, will be streamed live at GreatAmericanSeafoodCookOff.com. Tickets can be purchased on the website and at all Louisiana Whole Foods locations for $5, or at the door for $10. The Cook-Off is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and tickets to the 62nd Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality Expo include admission to the Cook-Off.
Other chefs competing are: Alabama — George Reis, of Ocean restaurant; Alaska — Beau Schooler, of The Rookery Café; Florida — Jim Shirley, of The Bay; Georgia — Adam Evans, of The Optimist; Maine — Chris Hart, of The Blaine House; Mississippi — Ty Thames, of Restaurant Tyler; New Jersey — Bryan Gregg, of Escape Montclair; Oklahoma — Kurt Fleischfresser, of Vast; Oregon — Doug Adams, of Imperial; South Carolina — Ron Andrews, of Bray’s Island Plantation; and Texas — Brian West. of Smoke, The Restaurant.
Cory Bahr, 2011 Cook-Off competitor and chef/owner of Cotton and Nonna restaurants in Monroe, will serve as master of ceremonies for the fourth consecutive year and will be joined by Baton Rouge media personality Johnny Ahysen. Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, will officiate over the competition as the “chef ref.”
Judges for this year’s contest include Brooke Bell, editor of Taste of the South and editorial director of Louisiana Cookin’; Steve Green, founder and CEO of #Foodiechats; Anne E. McBride, culinary program and editorial director for strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America; Barton Seaver, director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; chef Rick Tramonto, executive chef and founding partner of Tru in Chicago; and chef Wesley True, returning to the Cook-Off after winning second place in 2010.
Following the opening ceremony at 11:45 a.m., cooking will begin at noon. The chefs will have staggered start times separated by 15 minutes, and each chef will have one hour to create and plate his dish before cooking ends at 4 p.m. The Michael Foster Project will play until the closing ceremony begins at 4:40 p.m., and America’s Best Seafood Chef 2015 will be announced at 4:50 p.m.
The Cook-Off is dedicated to promoting sustainable and domestic fisheries and is produced in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Whole Foods Market, Southwest Cargo, Taste of the South and Tabasco.
New Orleans chef John Besh claimed the inaugural title in 2004, and Florida chef Terry White’s Country Ham Crusted Gulf Cobia with Spiny Lobster Gyoza, Caramelized Baby Bok Choi and a Florida Orange and Saffron Emulsion dish won him the 2014 title. During the competition, guests can sample dishes from chef White and sponsors.