Community event raises awareness about Louisiana’s land loss crisis and the urgent need for coastal restoration
NEW ORLEANS – The first virtual iteration of Cook-Off for the Coast, a project of Restore the Mississippi River Delta, Vanishing Paradise, the Meraux Foundation, the Saint Bernard Parish Coastal Division, St. Bernard Parish Tourism and the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 12 to 1 p.m CT. Cook-Off for the Coast, which is now in its fourth year, celebrates the bounty of Southeast Louisiana and raises awareness about coastal restoration.
Highlights of this year’s Cook-Off for the Coast — moved to a virtual format as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — will feature cooking demonstrations with Chef Isaac Toups and Riverboat Pilot Jared Austin, recipe and artwork competitions, a virtual coastal flyover and a performance by Michot’s Melody Makers with special guest Leyla McCalla and much more.
“While this year’s Cook-Off for the Coast will look a little different, it still provides the community with a one-of-a-kind experience and an opportunity to learn about coastal restoration,” said Samantha Carter, outreach manager for the National Wildlife Federation. “Plus, we will celebrate Louisiana’s coastal bounty and beauty, giving individuals a chance to show off their creative and culinary skills as they highlight the species and ingredients that depend on healthy coastal habitat to survive.”
Cook-Off for the Coast is a regional annual event held to raise awareness about Louisiana’s land loss crisis, the urgent need for coastal restoration and the importance of funding coastal restoration projects. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost about 1,900 square miles of land into open water and the coastline continues to disappear at a rate of one football field every 100 minutes. To reduce land loss and protect communities, Cook-Off for the Coast supports funding for local restoration projects while providing educational and engagement opportunities for large-scale restoration, coastal protection and community resilience measures.
There are a few ways to get involved in the 2021 Cook-Off for the Coast. Participants can submit a recipe highlighting the bounty of Southern Louisiana. Recipes will be judged in four categories: Swim, Fly, Crawl and Student. Winners will received custom trophies by local metal artist Luis Colmenares as well as all-important bragging rights. All entries will be featured in the Coastal Community Cookbook. Additionally, attendees can submit a two-dimensional work of art celebrating Louisiana’s coast. Prizes will be awarded in three divisions: ages 12 and under, 13-17, and 18 and up. The winning entry in each category will receive a $100 Visa gift card to be used at a local restaurant of choice and be featured in the promotion for the 2022 Cook-off for the Coast. In addition, all entries will be featured on the cook-off website. Contest entries are due at noon CT on Friday, Feb. 19.
“While this year’s Cook-Off for the Coast, like so many other things, is different, it’s still going to be an amazing showcase of the bounty provided by Louisiana’s coast,” said Meraux Foundation President Rita Gue. “We are proud to continue our partnership on this event in support of local coastal restoration projects. I’m looking forward to the exceptional online program, especially the cooking demos!”
For more information about Cook-Off for the Coast, to get involved in the competitions or to register for the event, visit: https://coastcookoff.com/.