Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah trout undergoes its transformation to the dinner plate during a recent competition. The governor of Louisiana has asked land-locked Utah to send a contestant to The Great American Seafood Cook Off in August. Three Utah chefs battled for the honor, using a Utah-grown/raised fish.
Chef headed to national cook-off with Utah-raised seafood

Cooking » He’s not the only competitor from a landlocked state.

By Kathy Stephenson

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jul 15 2014 12:13 pm • Last Updated Jul 16 2014 12:01 pm

When chef Briar Handly competes in the 2014 The Great American Seafood Cook-Off next month, he’ll be swimming upstream trying to convince judges that steelhead trout from a landlocked state like Utah is as delicious as Louisiana shrimp, Oregon crab or Alaskan salmon.

He’s not afraid of the rough waters ahead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It’s a misnomer that you can’t get fresh fish in Utah," said Handly, who recently left Talisker on Main to work on opening his own Park City restaurant, called Handle. "I can get just as fresh a fish as anyone."

Handly and his sous chef, Matt Nelson, proved it on Monday by winning the local qualifying event, preparing steelhead trout from sustainable farms in Koosharem (Sevier County) and Smithfield (Cache County).

Handly’s pan-seared steelhead, served with fresh Utah vegetables and a bite of trout sausage, impressed a panel of five local judges, including Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and KUTV news anchor Mary Nickles. Handly defeated chefs Phelix Gardner, of Salt Lake City’s Pago and Finca restaurants, and Clement Gelas, from Talisker in Park City, for the honor.

Now Handly is headed to New Orleans, where he will be one of 19 chefs to compete at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Aug. 2. Many of his competitors will come from states known for seafood: Texas, Oregon, Alaska and Louisiana. But a few competing states have borders far from the ocean, including New Mexico and Idaho.

As far as local officials know, no Utah chef has ever been asked to compete in the seafood cook-off, now in its 11th year.

So Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was caught off guard a few months ago when Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne asked him to send his best Utah chef to the event. Herbert agreed and asked the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts to organize Monday’s cook-off to select a winner.

"Being a landlocked state, the cards are stacked against us," department spokesman Geoffrey Fattah acknowledged. "But it’s a great opportunity to represent Utah’s talent."

And show off seafood raised in a desert.

story continues below
story continues below


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.