Idaho chef Mark Ballen to compete in Louisiana seafood cook-off

Release Date: 
Friday, July 25, 2014

Idaho Business Review

Idaho is more than 500 miles from the nearest ocean, but an Idaho chef will compete in a seafood contest in New Orleans next month.

Mark Ballen, the chef at Lucky Fins Seafood Grill in Boise, will take part in a cooking competition put on by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board August 2.

The contest is called the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Participating chefs represent Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Chefs are nominated to compete by their state’s governors, and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter nominated Ballen. Ballen said he competed in New Orleans in 2010 with another Idaho chef, and they came in 7th.

“You’re working with these really great chefs from all over the nation,” said Ballan, who is vice-president of the American Culinary Federation. “I enjoy being able to hang out with those guys. ”

Judges this year include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana in New York; Kris Moon of the James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and vice president of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at CIA-San Antonio and Susie Selby from Selby Winery.

Get in touch

Louisiana Seafood Promotion &
Marketing Board
1051 North Third Street, 3rd Floor
Baton Rouge, La. 70802
Call: 225.342.0552