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Port Aransas Chef Places in World Food Championship

Gail Huesmann, executive chef of Black Marlin Bar and Grill at the Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community, at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama, November 2018. She placed second in the World Chef Challenge. Photo courtesy of World Food

Port Aransas chef Gail Huesmann did it again. A star of the annual Super Chef Throwdown, which is set for September 18-21 in Port Aransas, the executive chef at the Black Marlin Bar and Grill recently placed second in finals of the World Food Championships in New Orleans. She competed as the sous chef for chef Nick Rickman. Airing on CNBC, the competition drew a large crowd to a viewing party at her restaurant August 24.

The team competed for a $100,000 prize. The task was to create a New Orleans-worthy appetizer.

Before final table competition determined the top prize-winning team, chefs competed against each other. Huesmann and Rickman made a pact to choose the second-place winner as a sous chef if one of them came in first. The two had bonded over shared hurricane experiences: Huesmann as a veteran of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Rickman of Hurricane Michael in 2018.

Chefs from around the world competed for the top prize. Rickman and Huesmann made it through two rounds to be one of three teams in the finals, where they were given a mystery box challenge. Teams were tasked with creating an appetizer without pasta or seafood for New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s.

Rickman and Huesmann prepared stuffed mushrooms with parmesan cheese, which put them into the final two against the ultimate winner, Jacqueline Seavey, executive sous chef at Island View Casino and Resort in Gulfport, Mississippi. She prepared kumquat duck and cornbread waffle canapés.

“This was a tremendous and challenging final table,” Mike McCloud, president and CEO of the World Food Championships, said in a news release. “Our event has always produced fantastic champions. But this one put a whole new spin on it, and our new champion really had to impress the best.”

The cycle of competition begins again when the Texas Super Chef Throwdown Series returns to Port Aransas in September. Back for a second year, the event features 30 chefs competing in six restaurants over three days. A Grand Tasting event on the fourth day determines who moves on to the next level of the World Food Championships in Dallas.

For more information on the Texas Super Chef Throwdown, check out the website.

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