Louisiana takes first place at seafood cook-off

Johnny Morgan  |  8/9/2017 4:16:29 PM

(08/09/17) NEW ORLEANS — Three Pointe Coupee Parish 4-H chefs showed the judges and the competition how seafood is done with their shrimp dish at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off: 4-H Edition on August 6.

The competition, held at the Morial Convention Center, is celebrating eight years of allowing high school 4-H’ers to show off their culinary skills and to take home some exciting prizes.

LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Monica Laborde, the team’s adviser, said the group has been working on their recipe since May.

“Once we decided to use the recipe, we went to work to make sure we had it right,” she said.

The team consisted of Sarah Cline, Caroline Benedict and Sophie Elliott, all seniors at Pointe Coupee High School.

“Our recipe was grilled shrimp with citrus salad along with candied pecans and grilled corn on top,” Elliott said.

A Georgia 4-H team took second place with their “Seasons of Savannah” dish. The Mississippi team placed third with their seafood-stuffed catfish with Mississippi caviar (black-eyed peas).

AgCenter 4-H Youth Development director Janet Fox said the Great American Seafood Cook-off is an opportunity for youth to get exposed to both preparation and the nutrition of well-designed dishes.

“But also this is an opportunity for the students to link to the food service industry,” she said. “They are mentored by chefs who give them feedback and truly gives them a glimpse into the food service industry and the culinary arts.”

AgCenter area nutrition agent Quincy Vidrine, coordinator for the competition, said the event started in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to highlight the safety of seafood.

“At that time, we only had Louisiana teams,” she said. “But after the great success we had the first year, we decided to invite other states from the Southern region.”

This year, competing teams were from Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi, but the competition is open to all states, she said.

Each team was given one hour to prepare their dish using American seafood.

Vidrine said the competition rules require each dish to be less than 750 calories per serving, which is in keeping with the 4-H Healthy Living Initiative.

“The purpose of this cook-off is to bring 4-H youth from all over together to compete and to learn more about seafood and its sustainability,” Vidrine said. “It also allows teams to show off agricultural products from their states.”

The competition also has a workforce component because the participants are high school students who may be in search of possible careers, she said.

The 4-H competition is patterned after and conducted in the same venue as the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, which pits professional chefs from across the United States against one another to prepare their best dish using domestic seafood products.

In addition to cooking, each 4-H team was required to present their plates to the judges and describe the ingredients and the preparation techniques.

The winning team received a $1,000 cash award from the Louisiana 4-H Foundation, and each team was given $500 by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to cover expenses of participating in the competition.

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First place winners at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off: 4-H Edition at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on Aug. 6 Sarah Cline, Caroline Benedict and Sophie Elliott, all seniors at Pointe Coupee High School, receive their prize from Louisiana 4-H Foundation executive director Patrick Tuck. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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The winning dish at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off: 4-H Edition at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center — grilled shrimp with citrus salad — was prepared by Sarah Cline, Caroline Benedict and Sophie Elliott, all seniors at Pointe Coupee High School. The event was held on Aug. 6. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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Teen 4-H chefs from Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia competed in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off: 4-H Edition at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on Aug. 6. Mississippi placed third, Georgia second and Louisiana first. (Photo by Johnny Morgan, LSU AgCenter)

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