Department of Mixed Messages: Something's fishy



The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is coming up this weekend at the Convention Center as part of the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO. Visit the competition's Web site and you'll discover that one of its sponsors is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency. Its 'history of' page (screen grab above) explains that it's a "New Agency" from 1970 that has a 200 year history. It also has a logo sinking into a body of water - not so encouraging given the Bush Administration's foot dragging on global warming. News pages of the site report that this summer's Gulf of Mexico deadzone is only 8,000 square miles. It didn't reach expectations because Hurricane Dolly churned oxygen into the Gulf ... so hurricanes are really good? 

Anyway, Louisiana shrewdly claims homefield advantage in the Cookoff (Aug. 2-3). Perhaps only fair because only Alaska produces more seafood. But as the event Web site reveals, the competition may really only come from Gulf states and Alaska, since most chefs are bringing seafood from their own state. So we'll see what the chefs from Colorado, Kentucky and Kansas bring. Chef Peter Fischbach of New Jersey represents Gourmet Dining Services, some sort of corporate dining service company. I am sure he will do the Garden State proud. Louisiana and New Orleans are being represented by chef Brian Landry of Galatoire's, who won in competition at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience in May. Chef John Besh was the last Louisiana chef to take first place (2004). The public is welcome to watch the competition. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10.

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