New Orleans, June 3, 2010 — Despite partial closures of Louisiana’s fishing areas and the challenges posed by the gulf oil spill, Louisiana’s top chefs created masterful seafood dishes at the third annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, held during the recent Grand Tasting at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.
The title of ‘King of Louisiana Seafood’ was awarded to Chef Chris Lusk of Café Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar at the Loews New Orleans Hotel. Chef Lusk bested a field of 11 chefs with his dish, Louisiana Shrimp and Crabmeat over Pasta. Judges praised the “simple, clean and bright flavors of Louisiana seafood” in Lusk’s winning entry.
Second-place honors went to Chef Diana Chauvin of La Thai Uptown for her creation, Softshell Crawfish and Crab with Spicy Coconut Green Curry. Chef Anthony J. Spizale of The Rib Room at the OMNI Royal Hotel in New Orleans finished third with his entry, Sautéed Louisiana Seafood with fine herbs, crab emulsion and local zucchini.
As winner of the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, Lusk becomes an ambassador for Louisiana seafood for the next year and advances to represent the state in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off at the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO in August. Last year’s Louisiana chef, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, went on to win the competition and was crowned “King of American Seafood.”
The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is the nation’s most prestigious seafood cooking competition. It showcases domestic, sustainable seafood and features premier chefs from across the nation. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is a primary sponsor for the two-day event. The Seafood Cook-off is produced by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB).
“The need to talk about Louisiana seafood has never been more heightened than it is right now because of the situation in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Ewell Smith, executive director of the LSPMB and executive producer of the Cook-Off. “We’re still harvesting safe, quality fish and these chefs are showing how terrific our native food can be.”
As a precautionary measure, a portion of Louisiana’s coast has been closed to commercial fishing to ensure the all seafood being harvested is safe seafood. Approximately two-thirds of the Louisiana coast remains open and unaffected by the oil spill. Inland, freshwater species such as crawfish, catfish and alligator remain totally insulated from the oil’s impact.
“Louisiana seafood is the best product in the world and always will be,” said Chef Lusk who is advising fellow chefs nationwide to be wary of negative media reports because only safe seafood is reaching the marketplace. “Keep it on your menu,” says Lusk. Lusk added that he speaks with his seafood vendors daily to stay on top of the situation.
A Lufkin, Texas-native, Lusk comes from a family of chefs. His grandfather cooked in a hospital “back in the good old days when everything was homemade,” and his family was also farmers. He says he grew up eating freshwater varieties of catfish and shrimp. Previously, Lusk cooked at Star Canyon in Dallas. He is a graduate of the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University.
Source: Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off