Chefs prepare for 2016 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off _lowres

Photo by Jeff Pounds Photography -Chef Michael Brewer of the Sammich won the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in May. This weekend he represents the state in the Great American Seafood Coof-Off, competing for honors with 11 other chefs from across the country.

This should be a busy weekend at the Earnest N. Morial Convention Center on the food front.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association holds its annual trade show here on Saturday, Aug. 8., and while that expo is an industry-only event, one part of the schedule is open to the public.

The Great American Seafood Cook-Off gathers a dozen chefs from around the country, who each prepare a dish using seafood from their home state while competing for the title of King or Queen of American Seafood.

Michael Brewer, chef and proprietor of Uptown’s uniquely modern po-boy shop the Sammich, was selected to represent Louisiana, and he was dubbed King of Louisiana Seafood along the way, during a preliminary in-state cook-off in May. The cook-off begins at 11:45 a.m. with the winner crowned at 4:50 p.m., and the public is invited to watch the action. Tickets are $5 and are available at local Whole Foods Market stores or at greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com.

The convention center is also concurrently hosting its annual Farm to Table International Conference, which covers topics like urban farming, restaurant sourcing and food safety. New this year is the Chef’s Taste Challenge, a dinner on Friday, Aug. 7, prepared by 10 chefs from around the country. Each will compete with a dish composed using seasonal ingredients from regions across the country. A panel of judges and attendees will pick the winning dish as they sample through the entree entries. Chefs Frank Brigtsen, of Brigtsen’s Restaurant, and Matthew Farmer, of Apolline, are local contenders.

Chef’s Taste Challenge begins at 6:30 p.m. at the convention center. Tickets start at $129, including beer and wine pairings. For tickets and details, visit chefstastechallenge.com.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.