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For Immediate Release: July 22, 2004


Lynne Richmond




(PRINCETON) – A top New Jersey seafood chef will go head-to-head with chefs from 14 other coastal states next week to vie for the title of “King” or “Queen” of seafood preparation in the country.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the Garden State Seafood Association and the New Jersey Restaurant Association are sponsoring Chef Jim Weaver, as he heads to the Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 31.

“New Jersey is a leader in the seafood industry that is known for its fresh, high quality seafood,” said New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. “The national seafood cook-off is a great opportunity to show how important Jersey Seafood is to a balanced diet and how easy it is for consumers to prepare.”

In 2002, New Jersey harvested more than 162 million pounds of seafood, valued at about $113 million.

Weaver, head chef of Tre Piani Restaurant, Princeton, along with Annie Prizzi – the head chef and instructor for the culinary program at Mercer Community College, will go to the cook-off armed with New Jersey’s freshest seafood and what he believes to be a winning-recipe that will prove that New Jersey is number one when it comes to seafood. They will prepare Garden State Seafood Panzanella Salad, which features Little Neck Clams, sea scallops, calamari, monkfish, Jersey tomatoes, cucumber, fennel, basil, garlic, and scallions.

“New Jersey seafood is pristine and high quality and will speak for itself when we showcase it to the country,” said Weaver, the president of the Slow Foods Movement in New Jersey, an organization dedicated to preserving and encouraging traditional foods, beverages and recipes. “It’s a great time of year to highlight the freshest ingredients of our region. New Jersey seafood and Jersey Fresh produce are the perfect marriage and will make our recipes shine.”

The Seafood Cook-off will take place at the Louisiana Foodservice Expo on July 31. One specific goal of the promotion is to showcase the seafood products that are characteristic of each region as well as to promote seafood to consumers as a quick, easy and healthy meal. The event will be aired on the Food Network.