New Orleans — Chef-owner Keith Frentz prepared a variation of a dish he’s been serving for six years at his Covington restaurant, Lola, to win the King of Louisiana Seafood crown during the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience’s Saturday Grand Tasting.
As winner of the competition hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Frentz, 34, will represent Louisiana in the ninth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Aug. 11 at the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO in the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. He also will represent the state’s seafood industry at events throughout the year.
Ten chefs from throughout Louisiana, including two Baton Rouge chefs, competed for the chance to be King of Louisiana Seafood.
Frentz, assisted by his wife, chef Nealy Frentz, prepared his Friday Lunch Special, a cornmeal-dusted wild Des Allemands catfish served over Camellia red beans and local crawfish succotash, with braised collard greens and tartar sauce.
“We’ve been serving all the ingredients in the dish since we opened six years ago,” he said. “It was important to me to use products from the local farmers market and wild-caught Louisiana catfish because you don’t see it very often on menus.”
Taking second place was Kevin Templet, executive chef at Fremin’s in downtown Thibodaux.
Templet prepared Potato Chip-Crusted Louisiana Black Drum topped with Louisiana crab and corn relish, along with a Louisiana crawfish, bacon and asparagus risotto.
Templet said Fremin’s serves “a lot of seafood and we do steak, which sells better with seafood on it.”
Chef Drew Dzejak, of The Grill Room at Windsor Court in New Orleans, placed third for his Brown Butter American Red Snapper and Truffle Louisiana Shellfish Ravioli with English peas and French breakfast radishes.
Among those competing were Scott Varnedoe, executive chef of Stoubes Seafood & Steaks; Jaime Hernandez, executive chef at Juban’s Restaurant; and Cody Carroll, chef-owner, of Hot Tails in New Roads.
While waiting to learn who won the competition, Varnedoe said, “There is not a bad dish here. Everyone is very talented.”