Chef Keith Frentz of Lola in Covington was crowned King of Louisiana Seafood after winning the 5th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB).
Ten chefs from across Louisiana vied for the coveted title of Louisiana Seafood King today in front of a crowd gathered at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience’s Saturday Grand Tasting. It was Frentz, assisted by his wife Chef Nealy Frentz, who impressed the judges the most with his TABASCO-spiced Friday Lunch Special, a cornmeal-dusted wild Des Allemands catfish, Camellia red bean and local crawfish succotash, braised collards, and house made tartar sauce.
“It was important for me to use products from the local farmers market and wild-caught Louisiana catfish because you don’t see it very often on menus,” said Frentz. “I am really looking forward to representing Louisiana seafood in the upcoming year.”
The year of reign as seafood king for Frentz will be a busy one. In addition to representing the Louisiana seafood industry at events throughout the year, Frentz will represent Louisiana in the ninth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off on August 11 at the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO in the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.
“Each of the accomplished competitors today prepared incredible seafood dishes that beautifully showcased what a premium ingredient like Louisiana seafood can do for a dish,” said Ewell Smith, Executive Director of LSPMB. “We are very excited to have Chef Frentz as our new King of Louisiana seafood and know his Louisiana seafood dish will shine on a national stage during the Great American Seafood Cook-Off later this summer.”
The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is also presented by LSPMB and is the nation’s most prestigious seafood competition showcasing domestic, sustainable seafood and features premiere chefs from across the nation. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is a primary sponsor for the two day event.
Coming in 2nd place today was Chef Kevin Templet of Fremin’s in Thibodaux with his Potato Chip Crusted Drum, which included Louisiana crab and TABASCO corn relish over Louisiana crawfish, bacon, and asparagus risotto. Chef Drew Dzejak of The Grill Room at Windsor Court in New Orleans placed 3rd for his Brown Butter American Red Snapper and Truffle Louisiana Shellfish Ravioli with English peas and French breakfast radishes, flavored with Original TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce.
Judges for the cook-off included Chef Randy Cheramie, Executive Director for John Folse’s Culinary Institute; Errol Laborde, Editor-in-Chief of Louisiana Life Magazine; Holly Goetting, Executive Chef of Charley G’s in Lafayette; Denise Mickelsen, Senior Editor of Fine Cooking Magazine; Amanda Westbrooks, Online Editor of Restaurant Business Magazine; and, native Louisianian Chef David Guas, Owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. Ewell Smith emceed the event along with the 2011 King of Louisiana Seafood and Executive Chef of Restaurant Cotton in Monroe, Louisiana, Chef Cory Bahr.
“Chef Frentz’s use of wild-caught Louisiana catfish was unique and the dish really showcased Louisiana seafood,” said Chef David Guas. “Combined with the succotash, it was a dish that was rustic and delicious.”
The Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off was supported by Fine Cooking magazine, McIlhenny Company/ TABASCO Brand Products, Rouses Markets, LRA, and the Louisiana Office of Tourism. For more information about the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, visit www.LouisianaSeafood.com and www.louisianaseafoodcookoff.com
The LSPMB was created in 1984 by the state of Louisiana to support their vast historical commercial fisheries industry. The Board is composed of 15 members and each member represents a sector of the industry: harvesters, processors, wholesalers, restaurateurs/retailers, fisheries resource managers, public health officers and marketing specialists.