The finalists have been selected for the 2nd Annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off, taking place Wednesday, May 25 at The Wharf in Orange Beach.
Chefs Gillian Clark of Kitchen on George in Mobile, Leonardo Maurelli, III from Ariccia Trattoria in Auburn, Brody Olive with the Perdido Beach Resort, and Josh Quick of Odette in Florence will compete for the state’s coveted top spot.
The winner of the event will go on to represent the state in the 13th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO) in New Orleans, and will be an automatic qualifier in the 2016 World Food Championship, also to be held at The Wharf – with both events scheduled for later this year.
“Last year’s competition set a high bar for chef teams this year, and our finalist selection process was even more difficult than in 2015,” said Chef Jim Smith, executive chef for the State of Alabama, current chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) and winner of the 2011 GASCO competition. “We are excited to see our finalists in action and know it will be an experience for all involved.”
Judges for the second annual event include 2015 Alabama Seafood Cook-Off champion Chef George Reis of Ocean in Birmingham; Jason Burnett, founding editor of MyRecipes.com and Oyster Obsession; food enthusiast and AL.com writer David Holloway; Founder of 30Aeats.com and Top 100 Gulf Seafood blogger, Susan Benton; program administrator for the ASMC and director of Alabama Marine Resources, Chris Blankenship; Chef Chris Sherrill from Flora-Bama Yacht Club; and Chris Nelson, vice president, Bon Secour Fisheries. Martie Duncan will serve as event emcee.
Competition scoring for chef teams (one lead chef plus one assistant) will be the same as those used later this year at GASCO. Entries will be judged based on Presentation, General Impression and Serving Methods; Creativity and Practicality; Composition and Harmony of Ingredients; Correct Preparation and Craftsmanship; and Flavor, Taste and Texture.