Crew livens up Homemaker meeting with tasty cooking demo
by Paisley Boston
Apr 16, 2014 | 2386 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers hosted a Northwest Delta Area Spring Educational meeting on Tuesday.

Participants came from various counties, such as Washington, Leflore, Sharkey and Coahoma, to enjoy delicious food and receive cooking tips from award winning Chef David Crews.

Bolivar County Extension Coordinator Laura Giaccaglia gave a brief introduction before Crews began his culinary masterpiece.

"I was first introduced to Chef Crews when he cooked at Crawdads. When he was there, my husband and I would walk to the restaurant multiple nights of the week because the food was so good," said Giaccaglia.

"He is a now a Chef Instructor at Mississippi Delta Community College. I am not going to try to share his story with you, I am going to allow him to do it," she added.

The audience engaged in a question and answer session as Crews prepared a hearty catfish and rice entre that he calls "Classic Mississippi," which consisted of whole grain rice, pan seared catfish and asparagus.

"A lot of people think of cooking as just putting it in the pan but there is a science behind it," said Crews.

He shared various tips with the audience – from rice cooking to catfish frying.

"When I prepare a dish with rice, I like to use ‘real rice’ and to do this, I sometimes cheat by cooking the rice sometimes days before I cook the dish," he added.

Crews said he cooks his rice, places it in ice water and then places it in vacuum-sealed package.

After he explained his method of cooking and preserving rice, the audience immediately began to question him about other cooking methods such as breading catfish and cooking canned vegetables.

"Do you use corn meal? Because I usually fry my catfish with meal," said a member of the audience.

Crews said he prefers not to use corn meal because if he does then he would probably enjoy the corn meal to the actual taste of the fish.

He prepared the dish using Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper and olive oil.

"Sometimes the simple ingredients are the best ingredients and I am a firm believer that fish should taste like fish, so I try to use simple ingredients," said Crews.

As he worked meticulously on the dish, he continued to engage in conversation with the audience.

"This is my 17th year in the culinary world. I got my start by working with my family – we are a farm family. My father was one on those type of parents that valued work and if you wanted a car, you had to work for it," said Crews as he lightly seasoned fish.

"The only person that would hire me other than my father was Airport Grocery – I worked as a dishwasher. I was not good with a lot of manual labor such as digging ditches and trenches so I decided to wash dishes," he continued.

Crews said after working at a five star restaurant as an apprentice and working as a dishwasher at Airport Grocery, he realized that cooking was his passion.

"I found out that I was very good at cooking and by the time I was 17, I was a senior in high school and running Airport Grocery at the same time. I would go to school and as soon as I would get out, I would go straight to the restaurant," he said.

Crews said the world of culinary has allotted him wonderful opportunities.

"I catered lunch for the King of Spain when I was 18 years old and the Chef Instructor position at Mississippi Delta Community College just kind of fell into my lap," he continued.

Crews said he had heard about a new Culinary Arts program at Mississippi Delta Community College and he decided to enroll in a few courses.

"I called to inquire about the position and someone from the program asked me to send in a copy of my resume so that they could properly place me in classes," he added.

"After reviewing my resume, they offered me a job and I was obliged to take it," said Crews.

"I have been working there now for seven years," he added

He was recently named the Seafood King of Mississippi.

Crews said this title led him to compete in a seafood competition in Louisiana and now he is the Seafood Kind of America.

He also said he recently signed with Holland Cruise line.

"I will be in Alaska for 14 days as the celebrity chef," continued Crews.

He has a bachelor of science degree in Culinary Arts and he does private dinning sessions.

"When I was in college, we use to joke and say that the people in Culinary Arts and the people in Premed were on the same path – the only difference was that they worked with people and we worked with animals," said Crews.

After several questions from the audience, Crews concluded his session by walking around with his entre and explaining his method of cooking his dish.