This is what I ate for lunch today at Hot Tails, my favorite area restaurant. It’s pan-seared mahi-mahi with shrimp Creole that Chef Cody Carroll made from tomatoes his uncle brought by. That’s rice, and yellow squash shaved into ribbons and sautéed. It was, of course, terrific; that Creole sauce had a depth and a piquancy that astonished. This is the kind of kick-ass food people hope to find when they come to south Louisiana, but rarely do.
Regular readers know I cross the Mississippi River to Hot Tails all the time, but today’s visit was special. Chef Cody just won a New Orleans cooking competition that designated him King of Louisiana Seafood, beating out chefs from famed New Orleans restaurants Bayona and Arnaud’s, among others. I’m writing a story for the Baton Rouge Business Report on the chef, his restaurants, and his plans to open a new place in Baton Rouge. This guy is the new John Besh, and the next Donald Link, I think. We sat in the restaurant for an hour and a half today, talking about cooking, and the restaurant business. Chef Cody is 29, and grew up cooking in his family’s house, and at the hunting camp in northern Pointe Coupee Parish. It’s in his blood, in his Cajun accent — and in his food. I’ll post a link to the story here once it’s published. Believe me, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about Cody Carroll.