As part of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off and national culinary competition, local 4-H members participated in the national contest. The first day featured top chefs from across the country competing for prizes and was followed by a lively Mardi-Gras style parade which kicked off the Louisiana Restaurant Association Food Show at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. The second day of the competition featured a cooking contest among 4-H members.
Becca Robinson and Ashley Adams, both from Washington County, took the stage on Sunday, August 6th, at the Great American Seafood Competition– 4-H Edition. The 4-H’ers were tasked with preparing and presenting a healthy and flavorful meal that met certain nutritional requirements, followed food safety standards, was 750 calories or less, and was required to feature Gulf of Mexico seafood.
The Washington County team’s dishes highlighted not only Gulf crab and shrimp, but also a Delta specialty, Lauren Farms farm-raised catfish fillets. Robinson and Adams, representing the state of Mississippi, placed third, and won a trophy and $500 with their winning recipes Seafood Stuffed Catfish and Mississippi Caviar.
Washington County 4-H earned the opportunity to compete in New Orleans by placing first in the state competition held this past May at 4-H Club Congress in Starkville. The team served a meal with an entrée of Pecan-Crusted Catfish, also featuring Lauren Farms catfish.
Not only did they earn the opportunity to compete on the national stage, but Robinson and Adams, along with Washington County Extension Coordinator Alma Harris and volunteer Lisa Lacy, also enjoyed an educational culinary tour which included stops at the New Orleans’ Crescent City Farmers Market and the hydroponic rooftop herb garden at Rouse’s Market.
Lacy commented that Robinson and Adams are relatively new to 4-H but already loved to cook.
“The contest was a fantastic opportunity for these young 4-H’ers to travel, gain more knowledge about cooking and safe food practices, and learn more about the seafood industry and its impact on the local, national, and international level.”
For more information about MSU Extension and 4-H or volunteering for 4-H, visit www.extension.msstate.edu. To learn more about the Louisiana Restaurant Food Expo, visit www.lra.org/expo.html or the Great American Seafood Cook-Off at www.greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com.