Johnny Morgan, Cheek, Quincy L., Landreneau, Dwight
NEW ORLEANS – Young chefs from four southern states recently competed in the second annual Louisiana 4-H Seafood Cook-off, with the Mississippi team taking top honors.
The 4-H’ers competed during the Great American Louisiana Seafood Cook-off, an annual event of professional chefs held in New Orleans.
This year’s regional contest featured 4-H teams from South Carolina, Mississippi and Arkansas as well as three Louisiana teams, according to Quincy Cheek, LSU AgCenter family and consumer sciences coordinator for central Louisiana.
“Last year was the first state 4-H Seafood Cook-off which involved only Louisiana students, but we wanted to expand it to allow other states to compete,” Cheek said. “So this year we became regional, and next year we plan to go national with the competition.”
To advance to the August 8 event at the Moriel Convention Center in New Orleans, each team had to win their preliminary state competitions.
The Mississippi team took first place with their Sautéed Jumbo Lumb Crabmeat with Cheddar Biscuits, Poached Eggs and Grilled Asparagus. Team members were Jared Harris, Cory Martin, Sarah Soares and Ariana Wilson.
The second-place team was from Vermilion Parish with their Sensational Seafood Medley dish. Team members were Haley Luquette, Chelsie Luquette and Leah Broussard.
The third-place winners were from Pike County Arkansas with their Spicy Shrimp Spectacular dish. The members were Katelyn Kirkham and Morgan Watson.
Team members from Louisiana signed up to compete at the parish level and were trained at the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H University, Clover College track – The Next 4-H Food Star – on the LSU campus in June.
Judges for this year’s competition were Dr. Mike Strain, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture; Jennifer Sirangelo, executive vice president of the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Md; Steve Barr, National 4-H Board of Trustees member in St. Louis; and Irvin Jackson, from the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources, Seafood Marketing Section.
Dwight Landreneau, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor, said this is a unique 4-H event that promotes locally grown seafood and allows young people to meet teens from other parts of the country.
“This is not being done any other place in the country. So we see this as a great opportunity for our children to get real experience and promote local seafood at the same time,” Landreneau said. “We’re the first to sponsor a 4-H contest with an event of this magnitude, and we want to open it up to 4-H members nationally next year.”
The six teams were given one hour to prepare their dish, and then they gave a 10-minute presentation to the judges as the dish was being sampled.
Members of the other Louisiana teams competing this year were: Allison Hall and Rebecca Beers from Rapides Parish; Trent Broussard, Chanay George, Stewart Lockett and Abby Songne from Iberia Parish. The South Carolina team included: Arbreya Lewis, William Blanchett and Brandon Murrell.