The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board today announced the selection of chefs from across the state to represent their areas in the 16th Annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off (LASCO).
This year’s competition will be held in Lake Charles for the first time, moving to the Golden Nugget Lake Charles on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Among the 12 chefs announced is another first for the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, chefs representing the cities of Grand Isle and Vidalia, Louisiana, will battle it out against 10 other chefs for the title of King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood.
“Every year it gets tougher to choose just 12 chefs from all the outstanding applications we receive. That shows the incredible level of culinary talent we have in Louisiana. Our food connects us to our heritage, and Louisiana seafood is a huge part of that connection. The majority of the chefs competing through the years learned to cook in their parent’s kitchens. It’s no different with this year’s chefs,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “I’m not only looking forward to seeing the amazing culinary creations our chefs serve the judges, but I’m excited to hold this competition in Lake Charles for the first time, the home of our reigning Queen of Louisiana Seafood Chef Amanda Cusey.”
Representing Shreveport, La. is Chef Blake Jackson, owner and executive chef of Drake Catering, Prepared Nutrition, and Whisk Dessert Bar. Jackson made a name for himself in the past decade as one of the area’s premier event caterers and private chefs. But in 2016, his career was brought to a new level. Following the opening of Prepared Nutrition, Chef Blake went on to win the Louisiana Food Prize, as well as being selected to the ACF New Orleans Best Up & Coming Chefs in Louisiana. In 2017, Jackson competed as a finalist in the National Farm to Table Chef’s Challenge. His Nouveau Louisiane style has become a signature, and he continues to operate the three businesses.
Chefs competing in the 2023 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off include:
- Ashley Allen, Executive Chef, Coconuts Bar and Grill; Vidalia
- Stephen Coblentz, Executive Chef, Charthouse; Lake Charles
- Ben Fidelak, Executive Chef/Owner, Mariner’s Restaurant; Natchitoches
- Dustin Frederick, Chef, Restaurant Calla; Lake Charles
- Greg Gizzaffi, Executive Chef, Landry’s Seafood House; Lake Charles
- Owen Hohl, Chef, Hot Tails; New Roads & Prairieville
- Blake Jackson, Executive Chef, Drake Foods LLC – Looosiana Seafood Market, Drake Catering, Whisk Dessert Bar; Shreveport
- Brett Monteleone, The Overpass Merchant; Baton Rouge
- Chris Motto, Executive Chef, Jubans; Baton Rouge
- Chad Phares, Executive Chef, Hurricane Hole; Grand Isle
- Amy Sins, Chef, Langlois; New Orleans
- Christopher Vazquez, Executive Chef, Redfish Grill; New Orleans
To be eligible to compete, a chef must be the executive chef of a free-standing Louisiana restaurant belonging to the Louisiana Restaurant Association, a proud partner of both the Louisiana and Great American Seafood Cook-Offs.
In addition to earning the title of King or Queen of Louisiana Seafood, the winner will represent the state at a variety of events including the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and held in New Orleans during the Louisiana Restaurant Association Showcase on Saturday, August 5, 2023.
In conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off on June 27, 2023, Visit Lake Charles is hosting a Chuck Tastes Restaurant Night. It is a chance to sample dishes from 20 southwest Louisiana restaurants while you watch 12 of the best seafood chefs in the state compete for the crown. Some of the restaurants gearing up for Chuck Tastes Restaurant Night include Luna Bar & Grill, Bodega Wine Dive, Bourbon Street Deli, Paul’s Rib Shack, Coffee:30, Chart House, and Landry’s Seafood House, among many great others!