Mississippi Chef Cooper Miller to Battle 13 Chefs for the Title King for Queen of American Seafood

NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are excited to announce Chef Cooper Miller of Forklift Restaurant in Tupelo, Mississippi, will face-off against 13 other chefs from around the country to the nation’s ultimate seafood cooking competition, the 18th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off.

Chef Cooper Miller is the chef and owner of Tupelo’s hottest restaurant Forklift, where he serves up his take on Southern Creole Cuisine. Originally from Amory, Mississippi, just a 30 minute drive southeast of Tupelo, he grew up in his family-run restaurants. Chef Miller moved to Atlanta after college to pursue his culinary career, eventually graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, in 2007. He spent the next decade training with some of the best chefs in the south, including stints with James Beard Award winner Linton Hopkins and Food Network personality Richard Blais, before moving back to Mississippi in 2018 and taking over the reins at Forklift.

On May 12, 2022, Chef Cooper Miller was crowned the King of Mississippi Seafood, earning his spot in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off preparing a potato and chorizo crusted snapper with a summer corn puree, roasted jalapeño sauce and heirloom tomato pico de gallo.

The 2022 Great American Seafood Cook-Off will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on Saturday, August 6. The 18th annual event gets underway with Opening Ceremonies at 11:15 a.m. as 14 chefs, each representing their home state, cook in front of a live audience and a panel of nationally acclaimed judges.

“The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is the perfect stage to celebrate Louisiana and America’s domestic seafood industry – the best in the world,” said Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “This year there will be a very talented field of chefs from all over the country vying to be crowned the next ‘King or Queen of American Seafood’ right here in New Orleans. Each chef will be showcasing their skills with domestic seafood to present the best seafood dishes.”

The 2022 Great American Seafood Cook-Off competitors are:

  • Chef Jeffrey Compton; The Battery, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Chef Amara Enciso; Brava Food, Juneau, Alaska
  • Chef Nick Farrer; Isabel’s Amor, Gilbert, Arizona
  • Chef Miles Angelo; Caribou Club, Aspen, Colorado
  • Chef Al Massa; Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, Destin, Florida
  • Chef Amanda Cusey; Villa Harlequin, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Chef Dila Mahoney; Dila’s Kitchen, Portland, Maine
  • Chef Eric LeBlanc; Burtons Bar & Grill, Riverdale, Maryland
  • Chef Erin Miller; Urban Hearth, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Chef Cooper Miller; Forklift, Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Chef Christian Gill; Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chef Mandisa Horn; Horn O Plenty Freshtaurant, Bedford, Pennsylvania
  • Chef Nicholas Huckabee; A Difference in Dining, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Chef Jesse Cavazos; Cru’ Food and Wine Bar; Houston, Texas

During the competition, each chef will prepare a dish highlighting the use of domestic seafood while interacting with the live audience, celebrity hosts Chef Cory Bahr – Food Network Star Finalist, Food Network Chopped! Champion, and a former King of Louisiana Seafood – and KLFY TV10’s Gerald Gruenig, along with “chef ref” Chef Keith Frentz, also a former King of Louisiana Seafood. Each dish will be presented to a panel of nationally renowned judges who will score based on presentation, creativity, composition, craftsmanship, and flavor. The Great American Seafood Cook-Off promotes the quality and variety of domestic seafood found in the United States.

To be eligible to compete in the event, chefs must either hold the current title of King or Queen of Seafood or be appointed by the lieutenant governor of their respective state or territory. The reigning King of American Seafood, Mississippi’s Chef Austin Sumrall of White Pillars Restaurant in Biloxi won the title with his dish of Snapper Three-ways, including a raw preparation, snapper ribs, and a poached snapper jowl pho. Chef Sumrall bested 12 of the best chefs from around the country.

The event is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Showcase. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Previous winners of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off include:

  • 2021: Austin Sumrall, Mississippi
  • 2019: Nathan Richard, Louisiana
  • 2018: Ryan Trahan, Louisiana
  • 2017: Lionel Uddipa, Alaska
  • 2016: Alex Eaton, Mississippi
  • 2015: Beau Schooler, Alaska
  • 2014: Terry White, Florida
  • 2013: David Crews, Mississippi
  • 2012: Gregory Gourdet, Oregon
  • 2011: Jim Smith, Alabama
  • 2010: Dean Max, Florida
  • 2009: Tory McPhail, Louisiana
  • 2008: John Currence, Mississippi
  • 2007: Tim Thomas, Georgia
  • 2006: Justin Timineri, Florida
  • 2005: Randy Evans, Texas

For more information on the competition, visit www.louisianaseafood.com/great-american-seafood-cook.

Following the crowning of the 2022 King or Queen of American Seafood on August 6, a news release with a link to video and pictures of the event will be distributed.

Attached Photo Caption:

“Chef Cooper Miller of Forklift Restaurant in Tupelo is set to compete against 13 chefs from around the country in the 18th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans. The annual event is hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board in conjuction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association.”