Press Releases

Kentucky 4-H Seafood Cook Off team

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, right, presented Honorary Commissioner of Agriculture certificates to members of the Kentucky team that finished runner-up among seven youth teams from throughout the nation in the 2013 Great American Seafood Cook-Off: 4-H Edition in New Orleans. Joined by Gov. Steve Beshear, left, members of the team are, from left: coach Michael Riggs, Kristine Gillenwater, Holly Harris, Parker Riggs, and Bethany Reckart. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo by Chris Aldridge)


Comer honors Kentucky team that finished
as national seafood cook off runners-up


For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 15, 2013
For more information contact:
Ted Sloan
(502) 564-1138

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer commended a quartet of south-central Kentucky students for their strong runner-up finish in the Great American Seafood Cook Off: 4-H Edition in New Orleans earlier this month.

Commissioner Comer presented Honorary Commissioner of Agriculture certificates to Kristine Gillenwater of Allen County and Holly Harris, Bethany Reckart, and Parker Riggs of Bowling Green at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville today. They were the first team from Kentucky to compete in the cook off, and they lost by one point to a Louisiana team in the seven-team competition.

“These smart and hard-working young people did an amazing job to very nearly take the championship from a team that comes from an area with a strong tradition in seafood,” Commissioner Comer said. “They have raised the bar for future Kentucky teams in the Great American Seafood Cook Off.”

The team of 16- and 17-year-olds used Kentucky aquaculture products and Kentucky Proud fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ground corn grits to make a blackened catfish dish they called “A Taste of the Bluegrass” — a seafood hot Brown featuring Kentucky farm-raised catfish with mint julep peaches. They were required to create a recipe that was under 500 calories. They made five plates in one hour and then gave a 10-minute group presentation to the judges about their dish, Kentucky and American aquaculture, and the other Kentucky products they used in their dishes.

A news release from the Louisiana State University Ag Center credited the Kentucky team for “a colorful and artfully stacked dish and an entertaining presentation to the judges.”

The team practiced preparing and presenting its dishes up to three hours a day through July. Chef Michael Riggs, professor and executive chef at Southcentral Kentucky and Community and Technical College in Bowling Green, coached the Kentucky team.




A Blackened Catfish Filet with Julienne Vegetables and Compound Butter, Cooked En Papillote and Served on Cheese Polenta, with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes topped with Sautéed Shrimp, Served with Mornay Sauce, Pimentos, Basil and a Tomato Rose Garnish. Accompanied by Peaches Poached in Mint Simple Syrup and served with Fresh Blackberries and a Bourbon Mint Julep Sauce Topped with a Sprig of Fresh Mint