Beau Rivage Resort and Casino Executive Chef Kristian Wade oversees 18 kitchens, 13 restaurants and more than 500 employees, including room chefs (the chef in charge of a casino restaurant), sous chefs, line cooks and dishwashers.
Annual food sales are in the tens of millions of dollars.
That is a big responsibility, but Wade starts each day the same way: with eager anticipation and passion for a job he loves.
Wade grew up in Pascagoula and said he was influenced at a young age by a grandmother who was a wizard in the kitchen. He said he has fond memories of going fishing and eating the fish they caught, cooked by his grandmother, that same evening.
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So, it isn't surprising he has a passion for fresh seafood, and the best-quality ingredients, locally sourced when possible. That's how he grew up.
On a recent visit to the Beau in Biloxi, Wade made his version of Trout Almondine for me, along with an amazing Murder Point oyster mayonnaise.
I sat in the open kitchen at Stalla and watched as he filleted the speckled trout -- fish that were swimming the day before -- season them and sauté them in rich yellow butter, adding the almonds just at the end, so they are toasted in the now-brown butter, succulent and delicious.
His Trout Almondine was the best fish dish I have ever had.
He is not only a culinary treasure to the Beau, he also is one of the leading stars of the Coast's food ways, culture scene.
Be sure to check out BR Prime, Stalla, Coast and Jia, the four fine-dining restaurants at the Beau.
SPECKLED TROUT ALMONDINE
4-8/10 oz Speckled Trout Fillets
1-cup AP Flour
Salt & Pepper as needed
1-tbls Olive Oil
¼-cup Flat Leaf Parsley (chopped)
1-tbls Worcestershire Sauce
1-tbls Lemon Juice
1-tbls Anchor Bend Stout or Dark Beer of Preference
¼-cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
Season the fish, as well as the flour, with Salt & Pepper. In a hot skillet add 2 tbls of butter and olive oil. Dredge fish in flour and add to sizzling butter and oil mixture. Fry fish flesh side down until golden brown and then carefully turn with spatula. Baste the fish with hot butter from the pan while frying. When the fish is almost done, add the parsley and let it crisp in the hot fat. Add Worcestershire, lemon juice, and beer to the pan and reduce. When the sauce has reduced add almonds and the other 2 tbls of butter and swirl in. Plate the fish and ladle the sauce on top.
MURDER POINT OYSTER MAYONNAISE
1 ea. Egg Yolk
1 Tbls Champagne Vinegar
1 Tbls Creole Mustard
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbls Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tsp Tabasco
1 Cup Salad Oil
3 ea. Raw Oysters (Preferably Murder Points)
Place the egg, vinegar, and mustard in the bowl of a small food processor. Turn on high speed for 1 minute. Add the cayenne, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. With the blender running slowly, drizzle the oil to form an emulsion. Add the oysters and their juice, and then turn on high speed for another 30 seconds.
Julian Brunt, who comes from a family with deep Southern roots, writes Coast Cooking in Wednesday's Sun Herald and has a blog at sunherald.com. He is a food writer and photographer with columns in magazines.