Chef Robert Vasquez to Battle 12 Chefs From Around the Country for the Title of King or Queen of American Seafood
Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are excited to announce Chef Robert Vasquez of Forks & Corks in Covington will represent Louisiana to face-off against 12 other chefs from around the country to the nation’s ultimate seafood cooking competition. Chef Vasquez is the 2020 King of Louisiana Seafood. Chef Vasquez first fell in love with ingredients and recipe development in his mother’s kitchen. She was his first culinary instructor and also his first real boss when he began his career as a dishwasher in his family’s restaurant where his mother was chef. The flavor profiles he learned under her tutelage remain influential in his cuisine to this day. Chef Vasquez draws on his vast restaurant, catering, and retail experience to bring a fresh culinary experience to the Louisiana Northshore at Forks & Corks in Covington.
The 2021 Great American Seafood Cook-Off will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on Saturday, August 7. The 17th annual event gets underway with Opening Ceremonies at 11:30 a.m. as 13 chefs, each representing their home state or territory, cook in front of a live audience and a panel of nationally acclaimed judges.
“Following a challenging year for all of us, the Great American Seafood Cook-Off is the perfect stage to celebrate Louisiana and America’s domestic seafood industry – the best in the world,” said Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “This year we are excited to welcome a very talented field of chefs from all over the country vying to be crowned the next ‘King or Queen of American Seafood’ right here in New Orleans. Each chef will be showcasing their skills with domestic seafood to present the best seafood dishes.”
The 2021 Great American Seafood Cook-Off competitors are:
During the competition, each chef will prepare a dish highlighting the use of domestic seafood while interacting with the live audience, celebrity hosts Chef Cory Bahr – Food Network Star Finalist, Food Network Chopped! Champion, and a former King of Louisiana Seafood – and KLFY TV10’s Gerald Gruenig, and “chef ref” Chef Michael Brewer, also a former King of Louisiana Seafood. Each dish will be presented to a panel of nationally renowned judges who will score based on presentation, creativity, composition, craftsmanship, and flavor. The Great American Seafood Cook-Off promotes the quality and variety of domestic seafood found in the United States.
To be eligible to compete in the event, chefs must either hold the current title of King or Queen of Seafood or be appointed by the lieutenant governor of their respective state or territory. The reigning King of American Seafood, Louisiana’s Chef Nathan Richard of Cuvée Wine Bar & Bistro, won the title with his dish of “Cracklin-crusted” Red Snapper with pickled crawfish tails, buttermilk chili consommé, spring vegetables, burnt leek oil, fermented cream, and bowfin caviar, knocking out 11 of the nation’s best chefs.
The event is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Showcase. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Previous winners of the Great American Seafood Cook-Off include:
Governor John Bel Edwards announced additional guidance to the public, including recommending wearing masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
This guidance comes after a recent surge in cases in the state. The following was announced Friday, July 23, 2021.
All people both vaccinated and unvaccinated should mask indoors if six feet of distancing can't be maintained.
Review Business Accommodations
It's recommended that businesses review accommodations to reduce transmission among employees.
After COVID Exposure
All People should get tested after potential exposure and isolate if positive. If negative, retest in 5-7 days or at the onset of symptoms.
House Small Business Committee Ranking Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer introduced legislation to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Appropriately titled the ENTRÉE Act, this bill generally reflects the GOP’s preference for how to replenish the RRF. The bill is like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, H.R. 3807, in that it would provide $60 billion in additional funding for RRF. However, it differs in two important ways.
What does the introduction of the ENTRÉE Act mean?
Driving up cosponsors of the ENTRÉE Act will be helpful in demonstrating and building support for a solution. So, we are still operating under the same strategy, but now there is a bill Republicans are going to be more willing to cosponsor. Do not expect Democrats to cosponsor this legislation. Rather, they should be directed to cosponsor H.R. 3807. We also are not picking favorites. Cosponsoring either bill is a sign of support for RRF funding.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily accelerate timing. It remains unlikely that a solution is reached before Congress adjourns for August. The House isn’t schedule to return until the week of September 20th. We should use this time to continue to press the need to replenish RRF.
The ENTRÉE Act will:
Winsight Media (NRA Show, RLC, Technomic and Restaurant Business Magazine) is hosting the #1 foodservice technology conference “FSTEC” in Dallas, Sept 12-14 at the Gaylord Texan Resort.
Please accept a complimentary invitation to attend FSTEC, Dallas, Sept 12-14, Gaylord Texan Resort. The #1 foodservice tech event in the industry.
Technology has a larger-than-ever role in restaurants today, so having the right tools and expertise is critical to the success of your business. Register today for FSTEC (and select “operator” as the registration type) to learn about the latest innovations and connect with your peers and potential partners.
Some of the registered operators thus far: Top tech and industry leaders from Dine Brands, Bloomin’ Brands, Brinker International, Café Rio, CEC Entertainment, Checkers, Chick-fil-A, Church’s, Cici’s, Hooters, In-N-Out Burger, LeDuff, MOD Pizza, Pei Wei, Potbelly’s, Smoothie King and many more!
Our Cenla restaurants are full of locals and out-of-town guests, and it appears that travel and tourism is taking off (no pun intended) once again. We are seeing new restaurants open which is exciting for the Cenla region. If you know a new restaurateur, please invite them to join the LRA and take advantage of the knowledge and resources available to them as they get started or expand.
With a herculean effort from our LRA Advocacy Team, working with Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder, the 2021 Louisiana Legislative Session produced a significant win for the Louisiana tourism industry. Of the $1.2 billion American Rescue Plan funds allocated to Louisiana, $77 million dollars were dedicated to tourism promotion, marketing, and sales funding. These funds will be used to support local tourism economies through our Convention and Visitors Bureaus across the state, helping restaurants, hotels, venues, and attractions gain future business, group, and leisure travelers. We are grateful to Speaker Schexnayder, and of course our LRA Advocacy Team, for their dedication on behalf of Louisiana’s tourism industry. We look forward to our continued relationship with our Convention and Visitors Bureau in the years ahead to showcase the best of our 14-parish region.
The LRA Showcase is August 7-8 in New Orleans at the Convention Center and will also mark the association’s 75th anniversary! I hope you’ll consider making the trip to shop industry suppliers all under one roof and hear from a great lineup of speakers at the Kitchen Counter. If you need assistance registering, please contact Member Services at Showcase@lra.org or call (504) 454-2277.
We all know that many restaurants may be struggling to onboard new employees, and I encourage you to take the time to thank and reward your existing staff. It’s because of our culinary and service teams that we are able to grow our operations—they are the backbone of our restaurants and this industry.
Last, but certainly not least, I was honored to recently recognize Gloria Batiste with an LRA Restaurant Legend award. I invite you to read her story, and if you have any Restaurant Legends of your own you’d like to recognize, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. As younger generations enter the industry, we have so much to teach them and assistance to provide as they chart the course of their careers. Individuals like Gloria illustrate the lifelong and rewarding careers that await in our industry!
Accommodating, patient, attentive and most importantly passionate about the restaurant industry – words to describe a legendary lady, Gloria Batiste, who was recently recognized by the Louisiana Restaurant Association as a LRA Restaurant Legend for her 40 years of service. The Restaurant Legends Program recognizes the long-term dedication of employees who make up the backbone of our industry.
For the majority of her career, Batiste made her living serving the members at the Alexandria Golf and Country Club, 36 years to be exact. An impressive anecdote, during her time there, she knew all 523 members by name. There, Batiste began as a waitress and worked her way up to supervisor of service.
Batiste’s former employer, Lou Richards, manager of Alexandria Golf and Country Club, described Batiste as “the most accommodating employee I’ve ever known in 40 years of work.”
This isn’t the first time Batiste has been recognized for her dedication to the industry. Back in 1998, she was nominated by the LRA and selected by the state Tourism Development Commission as Louisiana Restaurant Employee of the Year.
Current employer, Scott Laliberte of Hotel Bentley and The Diamond Grill, describes Batiste or “Glo” as, “truly one of the best in our industry! She greets our guests and fellow employees every day with a bright welcoming smile and has done so for over 30 years. Every day with Miss Gloria is a delight and I am extraordinarily thankful she is part of our team! I cannot think of anyone I have worked with that is more deserving of The Louisiana Restaurant Association Legends Award.”
Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 200 individuals in our state have been recognized by the LRA. Collectively, these industry professionals have more than 6,000 years of service to Louisiana restaurants and its suppliers.
Our office will be closed on Monday, July 5 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday, July 6 at 8:30 a.m. Happy Birthday, America!
Nearly two months after opening up for applications, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced yesterday that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is now closed. In total, the program received 370,000 applications, funding 105,000 of them and leaving more than $50 billion in applications unfunded.
“For a hundred thousand restaurants, the RRF has made their future clear and stable, but for the more than two hundred thousand operators shutout of funding, receiving this letter today only heightens their fear and anger. Across the country, a growing number of restaurants have uncertain futures. Many are in the ironic position of seeing indoor dining resume but are taking in less revenue amidst rising food prices and inadequate staffing to fully open. These operators have made all of the cuts and changes they can to stay open for the last year and are once again worried they won’t make it another month. We need Congress to act on the RRF Replenishment Act to provide the SBA with the funds they need to complete this important mission.”
-Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association