Local chef heading to big competition

Published: Jun. 9, 2017 at 10:16 PM CDT
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A local chef is one of 12 finalists in the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off that will take place June 20 in Lafayette.

Chef Ben Fidelak is executive chef and owner of The Levee Bar in the downtown Holiday Inn. Over the past few weeks, Fidelak said he has worked alongside his sous chef to create the seafood recipe that will be presented to judges.

The team will have one hour to work. Their main dish will be specially-prepared grouper cheek.

"At seven o’clock, my dish has to be ready,” said Fidelak. “If it's 6:55 and I put my dish out, it is going to sit there and get cold."

Fidelak said one chef could not prepare everything in an hour. Choosing the right sous chef is very important. On paper, Adam Porche might not look like the best choice for sous chef. He has only been working in the food industry for five months.

"He could have picked some guy who had all these accolades and all this stuff,” said Porche. “But it happened to be me."

However, Porche said he and Fidelak share a synergy that is very helpful in competition. They are hoping to win the title “King of Louisiana Seafood” and all of the opportunities that come with that recognition.

"You travel around to all these food shows, all over the country,” said Fidelak. “They've even gone to Europe, and you are the representative of the Louisiana Seafood Board."