October 22, 2014
Chef Ryan Prewitt gets to enjoy the Oyster Cook-Off on the cooler side of the grill this year. The award-winning Chef from Pêche Seafood Grill in New Orleans is serving as a judge for the oyster competition happening Saturday, November 8 at The Hangout in Gulf Shores. “The whole thing can be very nerve wracking for those competing,” said this year’s winner of the James Beard Best Chef Award. “Right now it’s all about the planning.”
Prewitt is no stranger to fresh seafood; it’s a staple at his eatery on Magazine Street. But the prospect of oysters in the hands of dozens of other creative cooks makes the invite to Gulf Shores even sweeter than his handcrafted dessert menu.
“It’s always fun to see what people come up with,” Prewitt said. “For better or worse. To be honest I fall into the camp that loves the raw and unadorned oyster, the pure taste in its natural state – or fried – of course. I love them that way too! But when you get into the Rockefeller category, I am looking for real creativity.
It’s going to be varied, I know. And that’s what’s so exciting.” The variety of flavors, however, isn’t the only best part of this event according to Prewitt. He’s looking forward to sharing kitchen stories, tips and techniques, and other shoptalk with fellow chefs. “I think it’s easy to get isolated in our own kitchens, but the camaraderie at these things is great. I always speak to people with bigger agendas, interesting ideas and it seems like one contact leads you to ten more.”
As for picking the best dish of the weekend, Prewitt tries to keep the competition in perspective. “Food is real subjective. One person’s creative could be another person’s pretension. I’m going to be choosing the ones that make the most impact.”
The 7th Annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend is coming up soon on Saturday, November 8th. Admission is free and the oysters and beer will be plentiful! And, don’t forget to kick the weekend off right with our first ever Craft Beer Festival Kick-Off presented by AL.com on Friday night at the Hangout. This is a great chance to mingle with the chef’s before their big day.