“‘Wow,’ we said, that is what beat us,” said Abbeville High senior Leah Broussard, who was one of three members of the 4-H Cooking team that finished second in the regional cook-off. “We were a little disappointed, because we worked so hard.”
The Vermilion Parish team, including also sisters Haley and Chelsie Luquette of Erath, finished second overall in the cook-off held recently in New Orleans. Sensational Seafood Medley dish was the name of their catfish dish.
The three girls competed against five other teams from four states - Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Mississippi took top honors with its biscuit dish.
Team members from Louisiana signed up to compete at the parish level and were trained at the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H University, Clover College track – The Next 4-H Food Star – on the LSU campus in June.
Judges for this year’s competition were Dr. Mike Strain, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture; Jennifer Sirangelo, executive vice president of the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Md; Steve Barr, National 4-H Board of Trustees member in St. Louis; and Irvin Jackson, from the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources, Seafood Marketing Section.
Dwight Landreneau, LSU AgCenter associate vice chancellor, said this is a unique 4-H event that promotes locally grown seafood and allows young people to meet teens from other parts of the country.
“This is not being done any other place in the country. So we see this as a great opportunity for our children to get real experience and promote local seafood at the same time,” Landreneau said. “We’re the first to sponsor a 4-H contest with an event of this magnitude, and we want to open it up to 4-H members nationally next year.”
The six teams were given one hour to prepare their dish, and then they gave a 10-minute presentation to the judges as the dish was being sampled. The three girls also had to do television interviews right before cooking.
“It was a good experience,” said Broussard.