Another national title back in Alabama

Published 6:00 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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Alabama Chef Brody Olive of Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach was named King of American Seafood among 12 total competitors at the 19th Annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off held Saturday, Aug. 5, in New Orleans.

This is the first time the coveted title has returned to the state of Alabama since Chef Jim Smith earned top honors in 2011. Olive, alongside assistant chef Luis Silvestrie, originally created the winning dish — “Fishing on the Rocks, The Jetties at Perdido Pass” — for the 8th Annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off qualifier event held in June, which the duo won.

The recipe consisted of Gaff-Top Catfish Smoked over Scrub Oak Coal, Flash-Fried Mole Crabs + Gulf Shrimp Horseradish Cream, Pickled Purslane + Smoked Paprika Coral Tuile and was impressive due to its representation of underrepresented Gulf seafood species.

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“Having the national seafood title return to Alabama is something we are immensely proud of, and we are thrilled for Chef Olive and his team for their innovative approach to this dish,” said Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Chris Blankenship. “The fact that he integrated what are otherwise underrepresented Gulf species is even more impressive.”

Gaff-Top Catfish is a saltwater species not typically caught and served like its more popular Gulf fish counterparts, while Mole Crabs — also known as sand fleas — are rarely eaten. These Alabama Gulf Seafood items were then grilled over another underutilized Gulf species, the Scrub Oak.

The judges based their winning recipe results overall creativity, composition and harmony of ingredients.

“Chef Olive’s win helps to further showcase what we have long known: the Alabama Gulf is among the greatest locations worldwide for seafood options and for fresh, exciting and delicious ways to prepare it,” said Blankenship.