February 17, 2013

Laissez Chef ~ Richard Myers ya'll!

Tell us about your Louisiana roots, upbringing, influences. Anything about Cajun to share?
Of Cajun descent and a native of New Orleans, I like to encourage foodies and novices to experiment and cook with New Orleans flavours – think gumbo, barbecue shrimp, jambalaya, po’boys and soft shell crab. I apprenticed in the fine dining restaurants of the French Quarter of New Orleans. I was appointed Chef at Columbia Picture Studios and catered for films and television on location throughout the US.  My final role before moving to England was Executive Chef at the 5* Le Pavillon Hotel, New Orleans.  New Orleans cuisine is a tasty melting pot of Cajun, Creole, French, Spanish, German and Italian influences.

Fave Louisiana celebration?
The local French Quarter festival of over 800 musical performances, food booths throughout the quarter for four days in April - and all the music acts are free!  It's the 30th year this year which will be fantastic.

What prompted your move to UK?

Love and a few too many hurricanes.

How have you brought Nola to UK? 
I've been holding cookery demonstrations and I've created my own seasoning blend to kick things up a bit!  I have given demonstrations at Farmers Markets and food festivals in Surrey and London.  My New Orleans spice was launched at Taste of Christmas at London's ExCel and I cooked for over 1,000 people at that show - the Brits are quite adventurous with spices, they love Indian curry so it seemed they were very open to trying some Louisiana comfort food.  I write a cookery column for Round & About magazine.  

Websites? Cookbooks?

My website is at www.laissezchef.co.uk and a cookery book is being worked on.... watch this space.....

Fave recipes?

An incredible Sunday brunch slow smoked pork baked oysters Southern Bbq shrimp

History of the King Cake? Recipe you can share?
I took this from the web......
As part of New Orleans' Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings, called "A King's Cake."
Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold). The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.
Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today's King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the "baby" is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.
In more recent years, some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings.
January 6, the Twelfth Night after Christmas, is also the day our Mardi Gras season begins. Mardi Gras Day is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday

Can you share your favorite recipe? 

BBQ shrimp

This dish is my version of a N’Awlins classic dish that originated at a restaurant called Pascal’s Manale. When I worked there we would cook some 100 plus pounds in weight of shrimp daily.   Aim for an amber beer that is fruity rather than bitter.  Serves 2.

12 very large shrimp with heads and shells
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons New Orleans or Cajun Spice
Sprigs of rosemary
¼ cup beer, ideally an amber beer, unopened but at room temperature
Flour to dust

Rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain them well.  Pinch off and discard the middle portion of the shrimp shell, leaving the head.  Set aside. 

Combine butter, the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary and New Orleans or Cajun Spice in a large skillet over high heat.  When the butter melts, add the shrimp.  Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan.  Dust with flour and add the beer.  Cook and shake the pan for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and serve immediately, with bread for dipping.

THANKS Laissez Chef! Laissez le bons temps rouler!

No comments: