Biloxi chef crowned ‘King of American Seafood’ in 2021 Great American Seafood Cook-Off

A critically acclaimed Biloxi chef was named the nation’s new King of Seafood in New Orleans...
A critically acclaimed Biloxi chef was named the nation’s new King of Seafood in New Orleans Saturday.(Facebook/White Pillars)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WLOX) - A critically acclaimed Biloxi chef was named the nation’s new King of Seafood in New Orleans Saturday.

Austin Sumrall was crowned ‘King of American Seafood’ during the 2021 Great American Seafood Cook-Off. As the winner, he will travel across the country and abroad to promote U.S. seafood.

Sumrall prepared a Gulf Snapper three ways for the judges.

“We took snapper and prepared it three different ways,” said Mississippi Chef Austin Sumrall from White Pillars Restaurant in Biloxi. “We did a raw preparation. We grilled some snapper ribs. And, then we did a poached snapper jowl pho. It was a lot and we were down to the absolute wire on getting it accomplished but our plan was to go big or go home.”

And during the competition, he gave some praise to the Magnolia State, and the seafood.

“Our restaurant is literally across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and every bit of seafood we serve is all gulf seafood because we feel like we would be cheating on the gulf if we didn’t,” he said. “We have this awesome plethora of beautiful seafood that available to us and to be able to do something like this, we have a very seafood focused restaurant. We love doing it, we love competing, we love being able to showcase it, and we love being here for Mississippi for sure.”

Sumrall is the executive chef and owner at White Pillars in Biloxi, which has been recognized and featured nationally for its upscale coastal cuisine.

Hard to pick a favorite out of these three lunch orders. What’s yours? 1. Salt & Pepper Catfish 2. Chinese Braised Pork 3. Crab Avocado Toast #WPlunch #whitepillars #whychoose #comegetallthree

Posted by White Pillars Restaurant and Lounge on Saturday, July 10, 2021

This year, 10 states were represented in the cookoff. In addition to Mississippi, they included Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

A 2020 James Beard nominee, Sumrall grew up in McComb and began working in restaurants at a young age. After earning his degree in hotel and restaurant management from University of Mississippi, he went on to receive classical training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.

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