SNP Ambassador Chef Ryan Nelson Represents Indiana at Great American Seafood Cook-Off

Indianapolis-based chef Ryan Nelson represents Indiana at Great American Seafood Cook-Off.

Thirteen of the nation’s top chefs represented their home state and battled for the prestigious title of America’s Best Seafood Dish at the 14th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Saturday, August 5. Seafood Nutrition Partnership ambassador and seafood sustainability pioneer, Chef Ryan Nelson, was chosen to represent Indiana.

GASCO, hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, was created to showcase the superior quality of domestic seafood. During the grueling culinary face-off, each chef prepared a dish that best promoted the use of U.S. seafood while interacting with a live audience, celebrity hosts and the panel of nationally acclaimed judges.

Each chef was encouraged to build a dish around regional foods from his or her state, which is something Nelson does daily at his Indianapolis restaurant, Late Harvest Kitchen. In Indiana, that means featuring seafood from the Great Lakes or from one of 40 local aquaculture and aquaponics farms that provide delicious options including shrimp, salmon, hybrid striped bass, tilapia, and yellow perch.

“It’s great to represent Indiana, a (mostly) land-locked state, and showcase what is available to us in the middle of the country,” he said.

The 45 miles of coastline in Indiana is that of Lake Michigan, which offers a decidedly different bounty than GASCO competing chefs from states such as Alaska, Florida and Louisiana. At his restaurant, Chef Nelson, who is an avid fisherman, features lake trout and walleye frequently, and smelt is a surprising menu favorite.

For the competition, in which he had just one hour to cook, he made Lake Michigan Whitefish Rossejat. The…

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