Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he has tapped renowned Chef Lee Gregory of Richmond restaurant The Roosevelt to represent Virginia at the 11th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO) in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 2. Held annually, GASCO pits the nation’s best chefs against recognized culinary greats from around the United States. Chef Gregory will compete against 18 other chefs from across the country for the title of best seafood chef in the nation.
“We are very proud to have Chef Gregory represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in this competition,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Chef Gregory has already shown his outstanding culinary talents to Virginia. Now it’s time for the rest of the country to see them, along with some of the Commonwealth’s delicious seafood offerings.”
James Beard Award nominee Lee Gregory worked at Acacia in Richmond for five years before moving to nearby Six Burner, Mockingbird in Staunton and Blue Light Grill in Charlottesville. He returned to Richmond in 2011 to open The Roosevelt. Gregory is set to open Southbound, a partnership with Joe Sparatta of Heritage, in late 2014. Chef Gregory’s dishes are an “untraditional celebration of the South,” and are served alongside an all-Virginia wine list and a heavy selection of regional craft beers. In addition to two James Beard nominations, Chef Gregory and The Roosevelt have received accolades from Garden & Gun, Southern Living, The New York Times, Esquire, STYLE Weekly, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginian-Pilot, Richmond.com, and many more.
“Virginia’s diversified seafood industry, which is the largest on the East Coast and the third largest in the nation, is an incredible economic asset and is booming in popularity,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Having Chef Gregory in New Orleans representing Virginia helps to further the message that the Commonwealth is a major player when it comes to seafood.”
The Virginia seafood industry is one of the oldest industries in the United States and one of the Commonwealth’s largest. According to 2012 figures, Virginia is the nation’s third largest producer of marine products with total landings of just under 495 million pounds and is only out paced by Alaska and Louisiana. The dockside value to watermen alone was approximately $192 million in 2012.
“This is a major boost for not only the seafood industry of Virginia, but the overall culinary tourism and economic impact to the state,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.
At the competition, each chef will have one hour total to prepare and submit individually plated servings of their pre-submitted domestic seafood recipe. Judges will then have 10 minutes to hear the presentation from the chef and judge the dish. Each competitor is required to provide seafood products exclusively from their state.
Chef Gregory commented, “It’ll be an enormous opportunity and honor to show the folks at GASCO what high quality seafood we have here in Virginia.”
“This is a great opportunity to have Chef Gregory highlight Virginia seafood in New Orleans,” said Mike Hutt, Executive Director of the Virginia Marine Products Board. “This is an important representation of Virginia’s robust and diverse culinary offerings, and an excellent opportunity to shine a light on our thriving marine products and aquaculture industry, as well.”
For more information on the Great American Seafood Cook-Off, visit greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com.