Oregon chef wins seafood cook-off

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Chefs from 16 states competed in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off this past weekend, and chef Gregory Gourdet of Departures Restaurant in Portland, Ore., captured first place.

A team from Louisiana took second place, and Texas won third place Saturday in the ninth annual seafood challenge, sponsored by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, in New Orleans.

Ewell Smith, executive producer of the cook-off and executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, said this year’s competition drew the largest number of entries and participants in nine years.

“Chef Gourdet secured an extraordinary win,” Smith said, “and we’re proud to have him join previous winners in serving as an ambassador for domestic and sustainable seafood.”

For the competition, teams of chefs competed against each other by cooking dishes featuring seafood native to their states. The Oregon chef’s winning entry was a dish of slow-cooked Oregon Chinook salmon with butter clams, bacon dashi, pickled porcini, roasted heirloom tomatoes and crisped sea greens.

Chefs Keith Frentz and Nealy Crawford-Frentz of Lola restaurant in Covington, La., took second prize with a dish of Louisiana black drum, Gulf shrimp, braised collards, pickled black-eyed peas and Steen’s cane vinaigrette.

Jack Gilmore, chef of Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin, garnered third place for Texas with his dish. He served shrimp three ways, including a head-to-tail Gulf shrimp fritter with basil mayonnaise, a grilled shrimp with Texas green-tomato jam, and shrimp meatballs with tomato jam and zucchini noodles.

The NOAA’s Fisheries Service sponsors the annual event to highlight the marine environment and the nation’s domestic seafood supply.

Sig Hansen, one of the featured captains on the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” co-hosted the 2012 Great American Seafood Cook-Off along with chef Cory Bahr of Restaurant Cotton in Monroe, La., who is a recent winner of Food Network’s “Chopped.”

This year’s Great American Seafood Cook-Off included chefs representing Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless