Ask Sous Chef Greg Hargrow at Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Tunica, Miss., why he thinks he won Gaming and Destinations Magazine’s 2019 Casino Chef Showdown contest and he’ll tell you it was the “love that I put into it.”
This summer, Chef Hargrow submitted a delectable recipe for his dish, Seafood La’Tasha, which earned him “Culinary King of the Casino” accolades for the annual culinary competition.
The chef’s winning entrée included creative and flavorful ingredients, featuring a snapper as the centerpiece of his dish, his favorite fish for the last 20 years. To that he added his special touch of fresh spinach and tomatoes and king crab claw meat, providing color and more flavor, along with a delicious strawberry sauce.
Hargrow was competing against a variety of recipes that featured flank steak, wagyu, pork chops and shrimp tacos. But after the first round of Internet voting, it was down to two. Hargrow’s Seafood La’Tasha was up against another seafood specialty, a shrimp dish with grits.
When the final votes were tabulated, the Seafood La’Tasha recipe was voted the best in the competition.
“It feels great!” Hargrow said about winning. “I was competing against chefs with way more experience than I have,” underplaying his more than 20 years in the culinary field.
“I enjoy what I do,” he added. “I am always open to ideas.” And, he laughed, “I enjoy eating, too.”
Hargrow says everyone, from fellow chefs to pit bosses and the Human Resources team, was very supportive and as anxious as he was until they announced the winner. At which time, congratulations flowed from all corners of Sam’s Town Tunica.
“Greg is a very talented chef who is very generous with other team members,” said Gary Riley, Executive Chef at Sam’s Town Tunica. “He teaches in the kitchen, sharing his skills.”
For aspiring chefs, Hargrow offered this advice: start with a food you love, whether it’s beef, chicken, fish or something else. Add color and presentation. But, he said, never forget the secret ingredient in every recipe: cooking comes from the heart.
For winning the Casino Chef Showdown, Hargrow said he will put away those mixing bowls and use some of the cash prize to let someone else make dinner for him for a change. He’ll treat himself to a meal at Sam’s Town Tunica’s popular Twain’s Steakhouse.