Acadiana Chefs Snubbed? Louisiana Seafood Finalists Revealed
For the past five years, the King and or Queen of Louisiana Seafood has been crowned in Lafayette. As of 2023, that competition will be leaving the Hub City for Lake Charles. And while we can understand why sometimes a change of venue is needed what we can't understand is why chefs from one of the most prodigious seafood-producing parts of the state are being left out of this year's competition.
The Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board announced this year's twelve finalists who will be competing for bragging rights and a lot more at the competition in Lake Charles on June 27th. Among the dozen chefs in the competition are three from Lake Charles, the new host city. There are two from Baton Rouge and two from New Orleans. There is one chef each representing Shreveport, Grand Isle, Natchitoches, Vidalia, and the New Roads/Prairieville area.
I am certainly not suggesting that any of the competitors that were chosen were not deserving but come on, no chef from an Acadiana area restaurant made the grade? I guess after hosting the Cookoff for so many years our "chefs must have forgotten how to cook"?
Normally, I am not such a conspiracy theorist but the facts suggest the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in Lafayette was a rousing success. The event was well supported. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board received ample media coverage.
But what doesn't add up is the event's sudden departure for the extreme southwest corner of the state which feels more like Texas at times than it does Louisiana is concerning. And to add insult to injury, no Lafayette area chefs are invited this year.
Now, I have no doubt the Golden Nugget Casino, the host of the event on June 27th will make it a wonderful event. I believe the City of Lake Charles will roll out the red carpet and embrace the competition and the attention it brings. I just find it to be an interesting "coincidence" that no chef from any of the amazing Acadiana area restaurants made the cut in the first year since the competition was moved.
In case you're wondering who the 12 Finalists for the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off are. Here they are in no particular order. The list was published in a story on the KPLC Television website out of Lake Charles.
- Ashley Allen, executive chef of Coconuts Bar and Grill in Vidalia
- Stephen Coblentz, executive chef of Chart House in Lake Charles
- Ben Fidelak, executive chef/owner of Mariner’s Restaurant in Natchitoches
- Dustin Frederick, chef at Restaurant Calla in Lake Charles
- Greg Gizzaffi, executive chef of Landry’s Seafood House in Lake Charles
- Owen Hohl, chef at Hot Tails in New Roads and Prairieville
- Blake Jackson, executive chef of Drake Foods, LLC – Looosiana Seafood Market, Drake Catering, Whisk Dessert Bar in Shreveport
- Brett Monteleone, chef at The Overpass Merchant in Baton Rouge
- Chris Motto, executive chef of Jubans in Baton Rouge
- Chad Phares, executive chef of Hurricane Hole in Grand Isle
- Amy Sins, chef at Langlois in New Orleans
- Christopher Vazquez, executive chef of Redfish Grill in New Orleans.
Good luck to these fine purveyors of Louisiana Seafood we wish you the best. But forgive us if we wonder how you might have fared if some chefs from Acadiana were included in the competition.
By the way, the winner of this competition will move on to the Great American Seafood Cook-Off which will be held in New Orleans in August. And it should be noted that the reigning Queen of Louisiana Seafood, Amanda Causey, hails from the Lake Area.
And maybe all the finalists chosen were chosen legitimately and no one from Acadiana was found to be worthy of the competition this year. Or maybe we're just doing what we do best here in the Bayou, you know "stirring the pot".
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