The spirit of the summer Olympic games will be on display once again starting Wednesday, July 27 when the world’s best athletes gather to compete. There will also be a series of events for Team USA entitled “Spirit of the Gulf,” in which more than 1,000 people a day will be encouraged to visit the Gulf Coast — and sample the region’s seafood.
The event is being hosted by BP — which brought you the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well disaster that spewed more than 200 million of gallons of oil into Gulf of Mexico waters — as part of the oil giant’s ongoing partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee.
In its effort to promote the gulf region on a global stage, the company has tapped eight of the region’s top chefs, two each from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, to prepare seafood dishes for U.S. Olympians, their families and visitors to the London Games.
Chefs dishing up local favorites include Louisiana chef and restaurant owner John Folse, recognized as an expert in Cajun and Creole cuisine and culture; Michael Sichel, executive chef of Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans; Chris Poplin, executive chef at IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi, Miss.; Calvin Coleman Jr. of Naomi’s Catering in Gulfport, Miss.; Chris Sherrill of EAT! Restaurant and Staycations Catering in Orange Beach, Ala.; Chef Alec Naman of Naman’s Catering in Mobile, Ala.; Justin Timineri, executive chef/culinary ambassador for the Florida Department of Agriculture; and Paul Stellato, executive chef of Firefly in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Sounds like the U.S. Olympians are going to be eating very well. And with any luck, some of them will be standing on a podium receiving a gold medal, fueled by Gulf of Mexico seafood. That would be a victory of Olympic proportions for the region’s resilient fishing and seafood industries.