Chef Eric LeBlanc, of Burton’s Grill and Bar, will represent Maryland as he competes against 13 other chefs in the 18th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, the largest nationwide seafood cooking competition.
LeBlanc is the executive chef at Burton’s Grill and Bar, as well as the culinary director for the Burton’s Grill and Bar and Red Heat Tavern Restaurant Group.
Chefs competing in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off are given an hour to prepare a meal that centers the domestic seafood of the state they are representing. They will then each present their meal to a panel of judges, who will choose the winner based on presentation, creativity, composition, craftsmanship, and flavor. The winner will be crowned the King or Queen of Seafood.
As Maryland’s representative, LeBlanc can be expected to cook up seafood ingredients beloved by the Old Line State, such as blue crabs, rockfish, and clams.
This year’s competition will be held on Aug. 6 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
For Marylanders who wish to watch at home, PBS will air the live event, which is expected to last from 11:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST).
LeBlanc previously competed in Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2021, representing Massachusetts, as the sous chef for Chef Denise Herrera. The team took home second place for Massachusetts after preparing Herrera’s “Taste the Cape” dish, which featured Boston seafood favorites like clam chowder, haddock, and lobster rolls.
Born in Massachusetts, LeBlanc graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in 2005, going on to work in kitchens across Boston; La Jolla, California; and Costa Rica before landing in Maryland.
LeBlanc has previously won cooking competition television shows, including “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Rewrapped,” both on the Food Network. He was also the winner of the 2021 Wicked Bites and Chefs of the North Shore Pro Chef Competition, in which he competed against 11 other Boston-based chefs.
The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is held by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Showcase. Two former Kings of Seafood, chefs Cory Bahr and Keith Frentz, will host the event.