12 past winners of Louisiana seafood cooking contest compete


FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009 file photo, Executive Chef Tory McPhail cooks Lemon and Garlic Crusted Wild Shrimp at Commander’s Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans. Tory McPhail, who has been the executive chef at Commander’s Palace for 19 years, marked his last day at the legendary restaurant on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 2020. He is moving to Bozeman, Montana. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — With Louisiana’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions canceled, a dozen past winners will compete against each other in person this month in the 14th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off.

“As people begin to travel again, we want to promote our Louisiana chefs and locally-owned restaurants,” Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said in a news release.

Competing chefs will include 2009 winner Tory McPhail, who left Commander’s Palace in New Orleans last year for Bozeman, Montana, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism said.

The cook-off will take place the evening of June 22 at the Cajundome Convention Center in Lafayette.

Some of the more than 200 restaurants participating in the city-parish’s EatLafayette summer promotion will be selling food.

Last year’s cook-off, like similar events nationwide, was held online.

“After the year we have been through, it is encouraging to be hosting the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off in conjunction with the EatLafayette kickoff in person this year,” said Ben Berthelot, Lafayette Travel President and CEO.

Contestants include 10 men, a woman and a married couple. The winner will be dubbed “King of Kings,” “Queen of Kings” or “King and Queen of Kings.”

Each competitor will get a set basket of ingredients and have a pantry from which to choose additions.

Drawings will determine the order in which they cook and a mystery ingredient for each chef. Chefs will learn what their mystery ingredient is when they have 10 minutes cooking time left, and must make it a part of their dish.

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