New Mexico chef, Marc Quiñones, took 3rd place at the 14th annual Great American Seafood Cookoff, a national cooking competition, held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Thirteen U.S. chefs were pitted against one another in a live cooking show on August 5th.
As the executive chef at MAS Tapas y Vino, located inside Albuquerque’s Hotel Andaluz, Quiñones was selected to represent New Mexico after an invitation was sent by Lousiana’s Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism to New Mexico’s lieutenant governor.
Only one point separated Quinones’ dish, New Mexico Spiced Duck Fat Fried Oysters, from the winning dish cooked by a chef representing Alaska. Quiñones’ faced obvious doubts about his ability to prepare seafood because New Mexico is a landlocked state. But, Quiñones shattered the judges’ preconceived notions with his perfectly executed fried oysters that featured numerous strong ties to New Mexico cuisine.
Following the one-hour cooking time, Quiñones delivered a heart-felt presentation of his dish explaining the importance of both the Chimayo red chile and Hatch green chile, both of which were featured in the dish, to New Mexico’s culinary heritage.
Each dish was scored on composition, creativity, craftsmanship, flavor and presentation. Judges were: Monti Carlo of the Food Network; Chef Brian Landry of Borgne in New Orleans; SteveGreen, founder and CEO of #FoodieChats; David Mezz, deputy editor of Garden & Gun magazine; and Chef Brian West of Smoke: The Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.
Quiñones competed against chefs from Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
No stranger to the spotlight Quiñones has competed on both Food Network's “Cutthroat Kitchen” and "Chopped." Quiñones has even cooked for President George W. Bush aboard Air Force One.
The competition was hosted by Chef Cory Bahr, a finalist on season 13 of “The Next Food Network Star” and Rusty Hamlin, executive chef for the Zac Brown Band, also a finalist on season 13 “The Next Food Network Star”.