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Port’s Kitchen: NOLA Navy Week Seafood Cookoff

The NOLA Navy Week seafood cookoff was a competition between some of the best Navy ship chefs from around the world and local New Orleans chefs for the War of 1812 bicentennial celebration.

In commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, we celebrated the only way New Orleanians know how – with food! This past spring, 11 Navy ships from around the world partnered their chefs with some of the best in New Orleans for a cook-off showcasing our treasured local Louisiana seafood, hosted by New Orleans culinary icons John Besh and John Folse. To participate, each team prepared a meal to be judged on taste, flavor and presentation in hopes of winning the title of Nola Navy Week Cook-off Champion! The star-studded event garnered quite a crowd and you can catch it all right here on GoNOLA TV! Watch to find out which chef from the U.S.S. Wasp took home the trophy! If you didn’t make it this time around, mark your calendar for 2015 when the U.S. Navy will return to New Orleans for the official closing of the War of 1812 Bicentennial!

Like this video on the NOLA Navy Week Seafood Cookoff? Check out the GoNOLA TV YouTube channel for more great videos about New Orleans!

Video Transcript:

Ewell Smith: Well, we’re here for the inaugural Navy Week
Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. We have 11 ships from around the world. We’re
partnering up the chefs from those ships with some of the best chefs from
Louisiana and we’re having a cook-off.

Announcer: Before the cook-off gets underway, the teams head to Rouses
Supermarket’s to shop for ingredients.

Woman: Hi, welcome to Rouses. We’re here to provide you with a great new store
in beautiful downtown New Orleans to find all the best local seafood and
everything else you need for your dishes.

Announcer: Each team gets a $200 gift card and an hour to shop.

Ewell: The rules are very simple for today’s competition. Well, they’ve got
to use one primary protein and that’s Louisiana seafood. They’re going to
be judged on taste, flavor, presentation…

Chef: Look, barbecued oysters in Smokey Cheese Grits, yes.

Announcer: After stocking up on fresh seafood and produce the chefs head
to Woldenberg Park to start the competition. Chefs John Besh and John Folse
are today’s hosts, here to entertain the crowd and support the teams.

Chef Besh: You have a saute of mushrooms there John, with just a little
bit of soy sauce. You’ve got some ginger, some garlic, some scallions,
what’s not to like?

Chef Folse: Look at all of that, John. Look at how fresh that is. John,
I’m a big fan of the Navy. Look at them right here. Look at the food these
guys are… Minute and a half here on the chef’s team putting together
their oyster dish. I wish all of the spectators could be right here over
the food watching what’s going on. These guys are really meticulous in
their plating. I have never seen anything like it. You have 20 seconds.

Chef Besh: Chef Consentino’s putting his final efforts into this dish.
It’s looking great, smells even better. I wish I was on the judge’s panel.

Chef Folse: Ten seconds, nine, eight, seven-count it down, six, five,
four, three, two, one. All right take it on out.

Announcer: The food’s making its way to the judges.

Chef Folse: As the judges begin the tasting portion here, we’re going to
give them time to chew a little bit.

Chef Besh: Ask the judges what they think of this particular dish.

Navy Man: So this is great. The oysters are awesome. The presentation is
great. The BBQ sauce is delicious. Well done, very well done.

Ewell: All right, are y’all ready? Honorable Mention goes to Rene Bajou,
Petty Officer Rowland.

Ewell: The winner is Donny Blanchard of the USS Hawes.

Announcer: You know, they all, you could tell, put their heart into this
and they put a lot of thought into it. But as in any competition, I think
there were two or three that kind of rose to the top, and interestingly
enough, the last presentation that was done on this cedar plank, blew us
away in terms of the presentation, because it was a fun, fun day.

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