Florida Seafood Meets Southern Comfort at James Beard House

Five of Pensacola, Florida’s celebrity chefs came to cook an unforgettable six-course feast at the James Beard House
Florida Seafood Meets Southern Comfort at James Beard House
Joanna Fantozzi

Chef Irv Miller's Clams Casino were a big hit.

The James Beard House welcomed the five celebrity chefs of Pensacola, Florida who introduced guests in attendance, including TV personality Carla Hall, to a six course meal of Florida panhandle cuisine. A fusion of Southern comfort and Floridian seafood, especially shellfish like clams and oysters were the stars of the evening.

Chef Irv Miller and TV personality Carla Hall mingle with guests.

“It’s all that Southern comfort food that’s what we’re good at,” said chef Irv Miller, the chef at Jackson’s restaurant.  “We have had a lot of growers, and people doing the right thing with sustainable foods, but the five of us been supporting that movement forever long before it was cool.

Some of the culinary highlights included clams casino topped with smoked bacon, and cooked by chef Irv Miller, on top of the James Beard House’s brand-new grill; as well as other appetizers like blue crab tacos, and grilled pizza topped with mozzarella, watercress pesto and shrimp.

Chef Frank Taylor preparing the taco appetizers.

Each of the chefs prepared an appetizer and entrée, and some of the main courses included seared gulf snapper with pineapple sage pesto and preserved cowpeas, prepared by chef Jim Shirley of Fish House; panhandle oyster three ways (smoked oyster pâté, a butter-poached oyster, and cornmeal-fried oyster). By chef Frank Taylor of the Global Grill; and the tres leches cake with toffee glass and coconut whipped cream, a collaborative effort for dessert.

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi