Register for the 8th Annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off – Set for June 12, 2023

$2,500 Cash Prize, Earned State Title, and Chance to Represent State of Alabama on a National Stage

The 8th annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off (ASCO) is back and bigger than ever! For this year’s competition, the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission has delegated a weekend of events that fosters connection among long-time industry professionals with up-and-coming chefs in the Alabama restaurant community. Competing chefs will have the opportunity to meet and learn from some of Alabama’s leading professionals in the culinary industry during multi-day events amidst one of Alabama’s best seafood backdrops — the Gulf.

Beginning Sunday, June 11, competing chefs and industry veterans will be welcomed at The Lodge at Gulf State Park for a Gulf seafood-centered welcome dinner by Chef James Balster, Executive Chef at Perch restaurant. The evening will commence with remarks from well-known professionals of the seafood industry and will allow for competing chefs, judges, and industry professionals alike to become acquainted with one another before the main event the following day.

Monday, June 12 will be an insightful day for ASCO participants. Beginning with a sustainability tour of The Lodge, contestants, judges, and industry professionals will learn about the many ways The Lodge aims to protect the Gulf. From operations and facilities to kitchen techniques, The Lodge is one of the main leaders in sustainable tourism across the Southeast.

The 8th annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off will be held at Zeke’s Restaurant on Monday, June 12. Four anonymously selected chef teams will compete for a chance to win a $2,500 cash prize, earn ‘Best Chef in the State’ title and a trip to New Orleans to participate in the national Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO).

All Alabama chefs are encouraged to submit for a chance to be selected as a competition participant. Chef teams are selected based on recipe selections — made anonymous to a panel of judges— that highlight Alabama Gulf Seafood.

Since the start of ASCO, dishes at the competition are judged on the following criteria: *Note, dishes must represent the original recipe submitted at the time of registration.

  • Presentation, General Impression and Serving Methods
  • Creativity and Practicality
  • Composition and Harmony of Ingredients
  • Correct Preparation and Craftsmanship
  • Flavor, Taste and Texture

These five categories are the same criteria used in GASCO and help prepare our winning Alabama chef for the national competition. Each category is worth up to 20 points for a total of 100 points.

Each year, ASCO presents some of Alabama’s greatest seafood veterans to serve as judges for the event. The 2023 ASCO judges are Chef Jim Smith, Owner and Executive Chef at The Hummingbird Way and Board Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission; Chef Jeffrey Compton, Owner and Executive Chef at Armour House and the 2022 ASCO Winner; Chris Nelson, President of Bon Secour Fisheries, Inc.; and Susan Benton, Entrepreneur, Food writer, Founder of and

As in previous years, the 2023 ASCO competition is open to the public. We encourage everyone to join us June 12th at Zeke’s Restaurant to watch some of Alabama’s greatest chefs compete for a state title and enjoy a night of amazing seafood and unique recipe production. And, if you’re a chef interested in competing, make sure you fill out your registration form by May 8.

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