DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Chef Al Massa of Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer in Destin, Florida, is one of 14 chefs from around the country competing in a national seafood cooking competition. The 18th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off is on August 6 in New Orleans, La..

Chef Massa will present a lionfish meal to the panel of the competition.

Chef Massa recently prepared a lionfish dinner during 2022 Emerald Coast Open’s restaurant week, earning Brotula’s the highest marks.

Pan-seared lionfish with black forbidden rice, melting zucchini ribbons, with a chardonnay shellfish butter

“The Great American Seafood Cook-Off is the perfect stage to celebrate Louisiana and America’s domestic seafood industry – the best in the world,” said Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “This year there will be a very talented field of chefs from all over the country vying to be crowned the next ‘King or Queen of American Seafood’ right here in New Orleans. Each chef will be showcasing their skills with domestic seafood to present the best seafood dishes.”

The 2022 Great American Seafood Cook-Off competitors are:

  • Chef Jeffrey Compton; The Battery, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Chef Amara Enciso; Brava Food, Juneau, Alaska
  • Chef Nick Farrer; Isabel’s Amor, Gilbert, Arizona
  • Chef Miles Angelo; Caribou Club, Aspen, Colorado
  • Chef Al Massa; Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, Destin, Florida
  • Chef Amanda Cusey; Villa Harlequin, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Chef Dila Mahoney; Dila’s Kitchen, Portland, Maine
  • Chef Eric LeBlanc; Burtons Bar & Grill, Riverdale, Maryland
  • Chef Erin Miller; Urban Hearth, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Chef Cooper Miller; Forklift, Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Chef Christian Gill; Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Chef Mandisa Horn; Horn O Plenty Freshtaurant, Bedford, Pennsylvania
  • Chef Nicholas Huckabee; A Difference in Dining, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Chef Jesse Cavazos; Cru’ Food and Wine Bar; Houston, TX

More information can be found on the competition website.

More about Chef Massa:

Like many aspiring culinary creators, Chef Al Massa’s love of cooking started at a young age in his family’s kitchen, pitching in to help his mother with dinner parties, gaining an appreciation for simple delicious food, and learning a thing or two in the process. Following his service in the Air Force, Massa attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales, but he will tell you his actual training came during his more than 10 years under the eye of Chef Emeril Lagasse learning the fundamentals of Creole cuisine.

After spending two more years as a Sous Chef at NOLA, Chef Al joined the team at Emeril’s Delmonico, where he rose to Executive Sous Chef. Wanting to expand his experience, Al signed on as the Corporate Chef for a New Orleans restaurant group and their four properties, opened a restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, and then spent five years as the chef at Michael’s on East in Sarasota, Florida.

Chef Al eventually returned to Destin and worked at Marina Café for four years, winning VIP Destin Magazine’s Best Fine Dining in Destin for 2017. Currently, he is the executive chef at Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer, where he won VIP Destin Magazine’s Best Chef for 2021, has propelled the restaurant to a number one rating on Trip Advisor. In June 2022, Chef Massa received the highest marks during the annual Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Restaurant Week. Each evening during the week, a local restaurant serves a unique lionfish dish scored by a panel of judges. Chef Massa and Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer beat the competition by preparing a pan-seared lionfish with black forbidden rice, melting zucchini ribbons, with a chardonnay shellfish butter.

Louisiana Dept. of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, Louisiana Seafood PMB

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