Celebrity Chefs Spice Up Tennessee Aquarium's Seafood Events

Two celebrity chefs are coming to Chattanooga on September 19 for a sustainable seafood showdown. Virginia Willis and Susan Spicer, two award-winning chefs, will entertain and inform guests during two live cooking shows at the Tennessee Aquarium during Tennessee Aquarium’s 3rd Annual Serve & Protect events.

The “Decapod Duel” is the theme for the Tennessee Aquarium’s 3rd Annual Serve & Protect events, when guests are expected to enjoy Southern sizzle with a Creole twist during two live cooking shows to support the Aquarium’s conservation mission.

Willis is a classically-trained Southern chef who mixes fun into the approachable recipes she creates. She authored the cookbooks “Bon Appetit, Y’all” and “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all,” is a contributing editor to Southern Living, and has produced more than 1,000 TV episodes. Willis has worked for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and served as executive producer for Epicurious on The Discovery Channel. She has also appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped.” As a sustainable seafood advocate, Willis serves on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force. Her food blog often focuses on sustainability and encourages wise seafood choices and supporting locally-sourced food.


Spicer has been named one of Food and Wine's 10 Best New Chefs, and received the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast Region, 1993. Her French Quarter restaurant Bayona has been featured in Bon Appetit and has been listed as one of the top five restaurants in the Zagat Guide for New Orleans. She received the DiRoNa designation from Distinguished Restaurants of North America and the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence. In May 2010, Spicer was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Spicer appeared on the Bravo television program Top Chef during the finale in 2009. Spicer is also credited with inspiring a character in the HBO series Treme.

The aquarium’s 3rd Annual Serve & Protect program, presented by First Tennessee, kicks off a weekend of sustainable seafood events in Chattanooga. Individual tickets for this event cost $75.

Also as part of the event, on September 22, slated is the Cast Iron Cookoff at the Chattanooga Market. Here, five chefs will demonstrate their skills. A mystery sustainable seafood product will be revealed to the contestants who then have one hour to shop the market for ingredients. It’s standing room only as the chefs then draw upon all of their skills to develop seafood dishes to impress a panel of judges.

The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. Admission is $24.95 per adult and $14.95 per child, aged three to 12. Each ticket purchased helps support aquarium conservation programs.

For more information, visit http://www.tnaqua.org.

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