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Great American Seafood Cook-off Set for August

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will host the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. At the event, 19 chefs from across the United States will compete by preparing dishes that feature their respective states' native seafood.

"Seafood plays such a huge part in our culinary history and culture, and seafood dishes created in Louisiana can be found worldwide," noted Dardenne, pictured above center at the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off with winner Aaron Burgau at left, of Patois in New Orleans.

Tickets to the event, which is open to the public, are $5 in advance at such venues as Whole Foods Market stores, or $10 at the door. Judges for this year's contest include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana in New York; Kris Moon, of the James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and VP of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at CIA-San Antonio; and Susie Selby, of Selby Winery.

Participating chefs in this year's cook-off hail from Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

The event, which aims to promote sustainable and domestic fisheries, was first held in the summer of 2004.

For the third straight year, event organizers and 4-H will hold a youth cook-off on the Sunday following the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Youth competitors must prepare seafood dishes with fewer than 500 calories. Teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi (two teams), Oklahoma and Texas will compete.


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