NEW ORLEANS — An Oregon chef bested chefs from 15 other states to garner top honors at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board on Aug. 11.
Gregory Gourdet, executive chef of Departures Restaurant at Nines Hotel in Portland, captured first place with a Japanese-inspired dish featuring Oregon chinook salmon and butter clams. He was assisted by Sam Saltos, the restaurant’s sous sushi chef.
The Louisiana team took second place and a Texas chef took third place. The ninth annual seafood competition was sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board during the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Foodservice EXPO at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.
The contest, held to highlight domestic sustainable seafood, this year drew the most number of entries and competitors in nine years, said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
Saltos said Gourdet’s dish included “sea lettuce harvested last week,” along with porcini mushrooms and roasted heirloom tomatoes.
Keith Frentz, chef-owner of Lola in Covington, assisted by his wife, chef Nealy Frentz, won second place with what he called “Louisiana Seafood Sunday Supper” because “it’s something we would have at home.” It featured black drum, Gulf shrimp, maque choux, braised collards and pickled black-eyed peas.
Jack Gilmore, chef at Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin, Texas, took third with his “Trio of Gulf Shrimp Head to Tail,” which included a shrimp fritter, a grilled shrimp and a shrimp meatball.
Other competitors were from Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.