Which of your dishes says the most about you?
Although we’re known for many things, the dish I have to choose is our blackened tuna with smoked corn sauce, red bean salsa and roasted red pepper sour cream. It’s been on the menu for 30 years, and was one of my first totally original creations, so there’s a sense of pride there, but even after 30 years I still think the dish is as exciting as it’s ever been.
It draws on my experience with Chef Paul Prudhomme. When we got our first tuna at K-Paul’s, the wholesaler just gave me one, whole, and I had to figure out how to butcher it, and quickly realized the best way to cook it was blackening, treating it more like a beef steak than a fish fillet because you can leave it medium-rare in the middle. Prior to the early ’80s, tuna was considered a game fish and not a food fish down here. My father’s generation wouldn’t think of eating fresh tuna—you’d only hear about it as a report from the tarpon rodeo! But this dish has complex flavors and textures and I think that’s the definition of Louisiana food—the depth