Chef Thad Waters, a native of Ruston, was exposed to Creole food at a young age, thanks to his father, who grew up in a big family in Hammond. “I started to get into cooking at around 8 years old,” recalls Waters. “As soon as I was big enough to work the stove, I graduated my Saturday morning cartoons from cereal to eggs and bacon.”
At 18, he began working in kitchens, washing dishes, and after bouncing around a few restaurants in Ruston, he got a job at 102 A Bistro.
“That is where I cut my teeth in the world of true cooking,” he says. Despite not having any formal schooling in the culinary arts, he says he learned his craft from not just a lifetime of family cooking, but also from the chefs he worked for. “I have a passion for this,” he acknowledges. “Life is pretty great when you look forward to every day.
I know I still have a lot to learn, and I love living in the greatest culinary state in America in which to do it.” Today he is executive chef at Beau Vines Steakhouse, a fine-dining interpretation of the classic American steakhouse in Ruston, which incorporates Waters’ Creole-cooking influences.
Information, 2647 S. Service Road W., Ruston; (318) 255-1008, beauvines.com
Creole Shrimp and Grits
24 jumbo shrimp
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
3 large minced garlic cloves
2 ounces unsalted butter
12 grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 pound andouille sausage
1 pint heavy whipping cream
green onion for garnish
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix Creole seasonings in a bowl and set aside.
Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, and saute onion, bell pepper and celery for about 2 minutes.
Add andouille and continue cooking.
Juice half the lemon and add the shrimp, tomatoes, garlic and Creole seasoning, and reduce to medium-low heat.
When the shrimp are nearly cooked, stir in the heavy cream and continue until it simmers. Salt to taste.
Place your grits in the center of four bowls and use tongs to arrange shrimp around them. Slowly pour or ladle your sauce into the bowls. Garnish with green onion.