Born and raised in Cottonwood Heights, Logen Crew knew as a child he wanted to be a chef, and for the last 11 years, that’s what he’s been doing.
“If I wasn’t a chef, I don’t know what I’d be doing,” he said.
The 29-year-old is currently the executive chef at Current Fish and Oyster in Salt Lake City. Crew will be representing his home state at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans on Aug. 6.
The journey to the competition started in July when Crew was invited to join a local seafood competition at Harmons grocery store.
“I just figured since I’m a chef at a seafood restaurant, I might as well pony up and see what it’s all about,” he said. Crew and his sous chef, Amanda McGraw, won the competition, qualifying them for a national competition.
The Great American Seafood Cook-Off promotes domestic and sustainable seafood, according to greatamericanseafoodcookoff.com. During this competition, chefs from around the country have the opportunity to showcase their states’ seafood.
Since Utah is a landlocked state, Crew said he could have chosen any domestic American seafood to prepare, but the Utahn wants to showcase his home state.
“I wanted to take on a little more of a challenge and show that stuff directly from Utah is just as good as anywhere else,” he said.
Crew has chosen “Utah’s delicious trout” for the competition dish.
During the local competition, Crew and McGraw prepared trout four different ways to show the versatility of the fish, Crew said. They will be doing something similar for the upcoming competition.
Crew said he will also try to use as many parts of the fish as possible — including the head and tail — because he does not like to throw away usable parts.
In addition to the fish, other ingredients — such as corn, potatoes, mushrooms and onions — will also come from Utah, Crew said.
“Anytime I have an opportunity to showcase not only Utah’s products but also our growing food scene, it is a huge honor to me,” he said.
He said sometimes Utah gets a bad rap for not having good seafood or for having a lack of diversity, and he wants to show those assumptions are not true.
With his cooking style, Crew likes cooking seafood.
“I like to leave the ingredients as is as much as possible,” he said. “That’s the good thing about seafood — you can’t do too much to it otherwise you lose (the seafood flavor).”
Crew also said he enjoys researching where his seafood comes from. He makes sure it is sustainable as well as raised or caught correctly so he knows the food he serves is not harming the environment.
The Cook-Off is Aug. 6 at 11:30 a.m. Central Time at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans in front of a live audience, according to a press release. The show will also be streamed on the Great American Seafood Cook-Off Facebook page. Competitors will have one hour to prepare and plate their dishes, which they will then present to a panel of six judges, according to the website.