LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Every year 12 chefs head to New Orleans in August for the Great American Seafood Cookoff.
This year, Chef John Munday, from Samantha's Tap Room in Little Rock was chosen to represent the Natural State.
Chef John actually invited us in to his kitchen to learn some tricks of the trade, when it comes to cooking sea bass.
"When you're going to cook seafood on a grill: salmon, any type of fish, what you want to do is make sure the fish is as dry as possible. That ensures nice pretty grill marks”, the chef explains.
August 5th, the team will head down to the Gulf for the 13th annual competition.
The crown awarded to the winners is highly sought after by chefs in Louisiana, who compete regionally for a chance to compete at the big dance.
We asked Chef John if he's feeling the heat and not from the grill.
"I don't want to be cocky or arrogant or anything, but it would be phenomenal to get down there and use their seafood and come on top."
The last two winners have come from Alaska and Florida.
Arkansas is known for its barbeque, not it's seafood, but Chef John says being from a landlocked state doesn't worry him.
"Are they going to give it to a landlocked state? Maybe. But I think I am super confident in what I'm taking down there. It's just so bright and light and it's just the perfect dish to me."
A lot of practice and a lot of secrecy: the only thing we know about his dish, is that it besides the seafood, all of the other ingredients will come from Arkansas.
The chefs are practicing every day to make sure their timing is perfect.
"You have one hour to produce. We are taking rice from Arkansas. So, the rice, as we all know, takes a little bit of time. And the way we are doing it; it's scary."
Practice makes perfect, but the chef of 18 years says he isn't letting the pressure get to him.
"This is what I love to do. This is what I enjoy doing. So to me, it's just what I do."
The Great American Seafood Cookoff will be held in New Orleans on August 6th.