Nungesser: Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off moving to Lake Charles

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The 16th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off will be hosted in Lake Charles for the first time since its inception in 2004. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser made the announcement Tuesday at the Chart House at Golden Nugget, saying it is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate Southwest Louisiana is back stronger than ever and to highlight the region’s great chefs and restaurants.

This is one of four new gastronomic happenings in the works for Lake Charles. In conjunction with the drama that makes the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off such fun, more than 20 local restaurants will offer their best in seafood and non-seafood dishes during a special tasting event, according to Kyle Edminston, president and CEO of Visit Lake Charles. Chuck Taste tickets will be $50. Proceeds will benefit the Sowela Culinary and Hospitality School. Mark calendars for June 27.

One lucky sweepstakes winner and his guest will attend the Louisiana Cook-Off/Chuck Tastes for free as VIPs, tour a local brewery and enjoy a private lunch prepared by last year’s seafood cook-off winner and local chef, Amanda Cusey.

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Samantha Carroll, executive director for the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Market Board announced the board-sponsored sweepstakes would go live on the board’s Facebook page later that day.

Cusey encouraged chefs across the state to “get your applications in” and compete. Carroll said the cook-off has been described as a “culinary catapult” with winners going on to be featured on the cover of local, regional and national magazines. Some have gone on to be cooking show celebrity chefs.

Sept. 14-17, Visit Lake Charles will present the Louisiana Food and Wine Festival. Chuck Eats begins Friday, Jan. 20, and goes through Sunday, Jan. 29.

“Starting next week, we will have Chuck Eats. For the first time ever, over 30 participating locally-owned restaurants will have special offerings, deals and discounts,” Edminston said. “We’re encouraging locals and visitors to get out and support our locally-owned restaurants.”

“We’ve hosted Mardi Gras, Downtown at Sundown, The Patriot’s Ball, Red White Blue and You, Liqui Moly Pro Watercross Series, Chuckfest, city of Lake Charles Light Up the Lake Christmas Festival, the Louisiana Tourism Summit, Cybersecurity Summit, America’s LNG Summit … I could go on,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “These events matter and make sure that America and our neighbors to our west and east understand that Lake Charles, Louisiana, is bouncing back. It’s an honor to host these events. It means we have recovered and that the rest of the state realizes the importance of Southwest Louisiana.” Speaking from his experience in the restaurant industry, he said, “I do not know of anything that brings people together more than food.”