Chefs from across the United States are being asked to apply for a chance to battle in the first-ever Farm to Table Chefs Taste Challenge set for Aug. 7 in conjunction with the Farm to Table International Conference in New Orleans.

The food competition is aimed “at broadening awareness for the use of fresh, healthy, sustainable ingredients in preparing food. This event will provide a platform to feature 10 of America’s best farm-to-table chefs from across the country,” organizers said.

The Chefs Taste Challenge will feature 10 chefs from various geographical regions who will be vying “to create the best dish that utilizes farm-fresh items from a pantry of seasonal ingredients donated by state agricultural departments” and representative of ingredients in-season in the regions at the time of the competition.

Judges will include chef Sue Zemanick, the 2014 James Beard award recipient for “Best Chef - South,” Certified Master Chef Brad Barnes of the Culinary Institute of America, and chef Kevin Belton of the New Orleans School of Cooking.

Go to for additional information and rules. Deadline is April 15.

The Chefs Taste Challenge is produced by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, in partnership with the SoFAB Institute and the LSU AgCenter. The CTC is held in conjunction with the Farm to Table International Conference, taking place August 8-10 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

F2Ti explores the cultivation, distribution and consumption of food and drink sourced locally to globally. For more information on F2Ti, go to

Paragon chef

Paragon Casino Resort has named James A. Shields as executive chef. He is returning to the resort after a three-year absence.

Shields, a graduate and leader of the culinary team at the Culinary Institute of America, has more than 20 years experience in the culinary field. He is also a certified, trained ice sculptor.

St. Joseph Altar

Café Adelaide, 300 Poydras, New Orleans, is hosting a St. Joseph’s Altar in the Loews New Orleans Hotel until Sunday. The restaurant’s chef, Carl Schaubhut, is sharing the St. Joseph Altar traditions of his Sicilian roots in association with The American Italian Cultural Center and Rouses.

The altar will be blessed by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Mardi Gras Indians also will be participating in the event.