Hunter Evans, head chef at Lou's Full-Serv (904B E. Fortification St.) in Jackson, will travel to Louisiana to take part in the 16th-annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Saturday, Aug. 3. Evans will compete against chefs from 14 other states and Guam in front of a live audience and a panel of judges.
Louisiana Seafood and the James Beard Foundation are sponsoring the event, which will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Each chef will prepare a dish that uses domestic seafood, and the judges will score the dishes based on presentation, creativity, composition, craftsmanship and flavor.
Celebrity hosts for the competition include chefs Cory Bahr and Michael Brewer, who are both former King of Louisiana Seafood title holders, and Gerald Gruenig with KLFY TV10 in Lafayette, La.
For the 2019 event, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board is partnering with the James Beard Foundation's Smart Catch program, an educational sustainable seafood program that a group of chefs created to increase sustainability for seafood suppliers. The program trains and supports chefs to help them serve seafood that is fished or farmed in environmentally responsible ways. For more information on the program, visit jamesbeard.org/smart-catch.
Evans was born and grew up in Jackson. He formerly worked for North End Grill in New York City and moved back to Jackson in 2015. He became head chef at Lou’s Full-Serv after his return and has been with the restaurant ever since.
Before making it into the 2019 cook-off, Evans competed against six other chefs in the regional Mississippi Seafood Cook-Off in May. His winning dish was stuffed redfish with crab meat crusted with baby squash cut into the shape of fish scales, served with Mississippi shrimp, crawfish and sauteed leeks with garlic puree and topped with Mississippi River caviar.
For the Great Seafood Cook-Off, Evans says he has a similar dish in mind but plans to make substitutions with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers.
“I wanted to hit every aspect of Mississippi and the regions where we get our seafood, including the Mississippi River and the Gulf,” Evans says. “It’s an honor to get to represent our state and showcase our seafood. I think what I’ve put together is deeply representative of my home and who we are.”
The 2019 Great American Seafood Cook-Off will take place in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Foodservice Expo. Tickets to the event will be $10 at the door. For more information on the competition, visit louisianaseafood.com/great-american-seafoodcook.
Bright Lights Belhaven Nights 2019 Happening Aug. 10
The Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation will host its 15th-annual Bright Lights Belhaven Nights street festival on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, C Spire, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen and Southern Beverage Company are sponsoring this year's event, which will include live music on three stages along Carlisle Street and in Belhaven Park.
Gin Blossoms will headline the event, and Southern Komfort Brass Band will lead a Second Line starting at 7 p.m. Other performers include Cary Hudson, Young Valley, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and more. The festival will also feature children's activities, handmade wares from local craft vendors, food trucks and a dedicated beverage area.
The festival area will include Carlisle Street from the Froogle's parking lot to New Stage Theatre and Kenwood Place into Belhaven Park. Free parking will be available along any Belhaven streets that are not closed off for the event and in the parking garage next to Baptist Health Systems Medical Arts East. Entry gates will be on Carlisle and Poplar Streets.
Advance tickets are $15 per person and are available online at greaterbelhaven.com. Regular admission is $20 at the gate and payable in cash only. Children ages 12 and under get in free and must be with a supervising adult at all times. The gates open at 5 p.m. For more information, call 601-352-8850, visit brightlightsbelhavennights.com or find the event on Facebook.
Campbell's Cheesecake Challenge Happening on Aug. 1
Campbell's Bakery is partnering with The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen to host the inaugural Campbell's Cheesecake Challenge on Thursday, Aug. 1, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Rickhouse by The Manship (717 Poplar Blvd.).
Chefs from restaurants around the Jackson metro will gather at Rickhouse and prepare their own homemade cheesecake and other desserts for guests to sample. The event will also include a cash bar.
Participating restaurants include Campbell's, The Manship, Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar, Broad Street Baking Company, The Strawberry Cafe, Georgia Blue, Crazy Cat Eat Up, Heavenly Sweetz, Old Fannin Restaurant and more.
Tickets are $20 per person or $30 for couples and are available on Campbell's Facebook page and on Eventbrite. Proceeds will benefit the Good Samaritan Center in Jackson.
For more information, call 601-362-4628, visit campbellsbakery.ms or find the event on Facebook.