(October 29, 2019) --
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab's head chef took on the world stage at the World Food Championship in Dallas, Texas. Chef Darren Harbison and Sarah Anderson worked side by side and cemented a Top 10 spot in the seafood category. Team DISL competed against 39 other teams from around the world.
The World Food Championship is the largest culinary competition in the world. This year's competition brought more than 1,400 cooks from 42 states and 15 countries to the kitchen. Seafood is one of ten categories chefs are able to compete in during the multi-day, live event. Other categories are Bacon, Barbecue, Burger, Chef, Chili, Dessert, Recipe, Sandwich, and Steak.
Harbison served up three dishes during the competition. The structured build was southwestern grilled oysters, his signature dish was a different take on surf and turf and was almost a perfect score, and his final dish for the Top 10 Competition was shrimp etouffee topped with slow butter-poached Chilean seabass with sauteed oyster mushroom stirred in America's best caviar.
"It was cool getting to tell our story of who we are and how we are located on the barrier island of Dauphin Island," Harbison said. "We were able to rub shoulders with some of the best chefs around and represent our campus during an international event."
Harbison said a memorable moment of the competition didn't happen in the kitchen. It was after practicing his dish for the competition. He took what he cooked and walked down the street of his hotel to share with those in need.
"They were skeptical of us at first, but after one bite of our shrimp and corn dish, this one man made sure the others knew it was good. One man even chased us down to tell us how good it was and asked for another."
Harbison's Top 10 finish earned him a spot in the 2020 World Food Championship and a chance to be a part of the Walmart Chef Demo Program.
Team DISL was one of 19 teams that made up Team Alabama. The winner of the 2018 Forks and Corks Seafood and Science Gala were also a part of Team Alabama.