Seafood king

New Roads chef takes state cook-off honor

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON  -- Chef de Cuisine Samantha Carroll, of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads, second from left, laughs as her husband, Executive Chef Cody Carroll is crowned King of Louisiana Seafood by the 2012 winner Keith Frentz, of Lola Restaurant in Covington. Frentz's wife, chef Nealy Frentz, is at far left.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Chef de Cuisine Samantha Carroll, of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads, second from left, laughs as her husband, Executive Chef Cody Carroll is crowned King of Louisiana Seafood by the 2012 winner Keith Frentz, of Lola Restaurant in Covington. Frentz's wife, chef Nealy Frentz, is at far left.

Perseverance paid off for Executive Chef Cody Carroll, of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads.

Carroll, assisted by his wife, Samantha, wowed judges with his Louisiana Speckled Trout Perdu dish to capture the 2013 King of Louisiana Seafood title.

He had also participated in the 2012 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.

On Saturday, he, along with nine other chefs from across Louisiana, competed for the coveted King of Louisiana Seafood title during the 21st annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience’s Grand Tasting event.

Carroll’s dish features Louisiana speckled trout served with an étouffée of red swamp crawfish; whipped Creole potato salad; sweet corn and blue crab calas; Tabasco sabayon; and house-pickled banana peppers. The dish is finished with charred green onion and sassafras dust.

The Trout Perdu is “a takeoff on pain perdu,” he explained as he waited for the contest’s results. “I used an egg, a little sugar and heavy cream to make a wet batter and pan-fried it, like French toast.”

Carroll said he and his wife are co-owners of Hot Tails, which they opened in an old drive-through convenience store in New Roads three months after graduating from the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge. Samantha Carroll, who is chef de cuisine, made the calas and potato salad that went into the winning dish.

“Our executive sous chef is Owen Hohl, who went to culinary school with us from 2008 to 2010,” Cody Carroll added. Cody Carroll also is a graduate of LSU, where he majored in business management.

As seafood king, Carroll will act as ambassador and spokesman for the Louisiana seafood industry at events throughout the year.

He also will represent Louisiana in the 10th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Aug. 3 in New Orleans.

“I’m excited about winning today and even more excited to represent Louisiana at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off and show the judges that Louisiana has the best seafood in the world,” he said after learning he was the winner.

“Louisiana has some of the best seafood in the country and I admire all of the chefs participating today,” said judge Megan Murphy, a New York-based food writer, blogger, host and creator of ThisGirlCanEat.com. “Chef Carroll’s dish set the bar very high and I kept thinking of his dish throughout the competition.”

Chef Tommy DiGiovanni, of Arnaud’s in New Orleans, took second with his Potato-encrusted Cobia on Cauliflower Celeriac Puré e, Tomato Jus and Pancetta Lardon.

Chef Guy Sockrider, of Tomas Bistro in New Orleans, placed third with his Pecan-Crusted Gulf Cobia With Crab and Pecan Relish.

Chefs Keith and Nealy Frentz, the 2012 King and Queen of Louisiana Seafood and co-owners of Lola Restaurant in Covington, presented the crown to the new king.

Other judges were Rein Fertel, contributing writer to national and regional publications, including Garden & Gun Magazine; Tenney Flynn, executive chef of GW Fins; and Errol Laborde, editor-in-chief of Louisiana Life Magazine.

Also competing were chefs Manny Augello, Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro, Lafayette; Kevin Bourg, Wine Country Bistro & Bottle Shop, Shreveport; Troy Deano, 18 Steak at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, Baton Rouge; Brett Duffee, Bayona, New Orleans; Austin Kirzner, of Red Fish Grill, New Orleans; Dustie Latiolais, Crawfish Town USA, Henderson; and Don Terrebonne, Belle Terre Country Club, LaPlace.

The cook-off was supported by Louisiana Life Magazine, McIlhenny Co./Tabasco Brand Products, Louisiana Restaurant Association and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. For more information about the cook-off, visit http//www.louisianaseafoodcookoff.com or http://www.LouisianaSeafood.com.