Chefs set to compete in seafood cook-off

Nineteen chefs from throughout the United States will compete Saturday in the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are hosting the event, which kicks off at 11:30 a.m. during the Louisiana Restaurant Association Food Service Expo at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Aaron Burgau, chef-owner of Patois in New Orleans, will represent Louisiana. He captured the King of Louisiana Seafood crown in May with a riff on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival perennial favorite Crawfish Monica.

Many states hold their own cook-offs in spring and early summer to qualify chefs to compete for the crown honoring the best seafood chef in the nation. In addition to Burgau, participating chefs in this year’s event will represent Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

“Seafood plays such a huge part in our culinary history and culture, and seafood dishes created in Louisiana can be found worldwide,” Dardenne said. “We’re excited to welcome such prestigious chefs who will demonstrate their creativity using their states’ native seafood.”

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5 in advance at the Broad Street, Arabella Station, Veterans Memorial (Metairie) and Towne Center (Baton Rouge) Whole Foods locations, or $10 at the door.

The Great American Seafood Cook-Off, which is dedicated to promoting sustainable and domestic fisheries, first took place in the summer of 2004 when New Orleans chef John Besh took the title.

For the third consecutive year, organizers will join with 4-H to host a youth cook-off on Sunday. Youth competitors are required to prepare seafood dishes under 500 calories. Teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi (two teams), Oklahoma and Texas will compete.

Le Foret schedules wine dinner today

Le Foret, 129 Camp St. in New Orleans’ Central Business District, will hold a five-course wine dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31, featuring pairings from Amici Cellars with Executive Chef Brandon Felder’s menu.

Priced at $125 per person, including tax and gratuity, the menu includes Oysters Le Foret with Amici Olema Chardonnay, 2012; compressed watermelon and tomato salad with Amici Napa Sauvignon Blanc, 2012; blue crab ravioli with Amici Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2012; stuffed pork tenderloin with figs and foie gras with Amici Napa Cabernet Sauvignono, 2010; and poached peach tart with homemade vanilla ice cream paired with Amici Olema Pinot Noir, 2012.

Call (504) 553-6738.

Arnaud’s in N.O. to hold James Beard dinners

Tommy DiGiovanni, chef de cuisine of Arnaud’s Restaurant, will cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on Sept. 20 and will re-create the menu at the New Orleans restaurant five days later.

Accompanying him to New York City will be Sous Chef Casey Morvant, Pastry Chef Tammy Rink and Head Cook Brent Snoddy.

The James Beard Foundation Dinner will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 20. Cost is $130 for members and $170 for the public. To book reservations for the New York City dinner, call (212) 627-2308.

The menu also will be featured during a special, open-to-the-public, wine dinner event at the restaurant, 813 Rue Bienville, at 7 p.m. Sept. 25, with cocktails starting at 6:30 p.m. Cost will be $125 per person, including tax and gratuity.

For reservations to the New Orleans dinner or for more information, call (504) 523-5433 or go to

The James Beard menu will begin with canapés and cocktails of Soufflé Potatoes With Sauce Béarnaise, Smoked Pompano with crème fraîche and chive, Daube Glacé with garlic crouton, Oyster Bienville and Sweet Potato Hash With Tasso Ham and Pepper Jelly, French 75 and The Contessa.

The wines will be donated by David Drucker, Empire Merchants.

Compiled by Advocate staff