8/27/2017 Update: Alaska’s Chef Lionel Uddipa took home the top prize at the 2017 Great American Seafood Cook-Off, but Chef Olive and his team received impressive scores and represented our state well. Congrats on a job well done, Chef!
In 2011, Chef Jim Smith was crowned champion at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.
But Alabama’s had a bit of a GASCO dry spell since then.
This year, it’s Chef Brody Olive’s turn. And after great recent showings from Chef Josh Quick, Chef George Reis, and Chef David Bancroft, he’s got his work cut out for him.
Thankfully for us, Chef Brody is on a bit of a roll. After placing 2nd in the 2015 and 2016 Alabama Seafood Cook-Offs, the Perdido Beach Resort executive chef finally found himself in the winner’s circle this year. (Due to a death in the family, Chef Olive couldn’t be at the ASCO; Chef Brad Gilstrap, also of Perdido Beach Resort, competed in his place with Chef Olive’s recipe.)
“It’s felt great the past two years just being selected to compete [at the ASCO],” said Chef Olive. “This year feels completed! We found ways to add more layers of flavor to our dish this year, which equaled a very balanced plate.”
That plate contained Chef Olive’s Fruitti di Alabama, an impressive dish that combines fresh Alabama Porgy, Rock Shrimp, and Blue Crab with summer veggies like baby summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.
In other words, it’s an Alabama summer feast, all on one plate.
“This dish is a reflection of what was celebrated from my grandparents’ gardens during the summertime,” said Chef Olive. “I just added Alabama Gulf Seafood! Jolthead Porgy is one of my favorite fish to eat. It’s super delicate and light; fits perfectly with fresh veggies.”
Now that the ASCO is behind him, Chef Olive has his sights set on his next challenge: the 2017 Great American Seafood Cook-Off.
Over the past several weeks, Chef Olive and his team have been practicing the dish and deciding what variation of the dish they’ll present at the GASCO, based on feedback from the ASCO judges. And since Chef Smith and Chef Quick are former GASCO contenders, Chef Olive has been taking good notes.
The 2017 GASCO takes place August 5, with 11 other chefs competing from as far away as Alaska and Massachusetts.
“Bringing home the title would be an outstanding feat,” said Chef Olive. “I’m very confident that we have the absolute best fishery anywhere in the world, so what better place to prove it than on this stage!”
Once the GASCO concludes, Chef Olive will also be an automatic qualifier at the World Food Championships at The Wharf in Orange Beach in November.
Our state’s seafood reputation is in great hands. Best of luck, Chef Olive!