George has had a love of all things culinary from a very young age, and throughout his career, has worked with renowned chefs and food technologists. He discovered his passion for cooking at the age of five after spending time in his grandmother's restaurant. From then on, under his mother's guidance (who is a talented cook of her own accord) George recalls cooking anything his mother would let him, starting out with scrambled eggs and hamburgers and quickly moving on to fine Italian and French dishes.
After many years of honing and perfecting his culinary craft, George still enjoys what he humbly considers: "complimenting my family culinary experience," by taking courses in regional cuisines pertaining to the vegetable ingredient products his family specializes in, namely: Asian, French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Tex Mex.
Because of George's extensive knowledge and passion for food, he is a great resource to customers in helping them find the right ingredients for their recipe needs. "I need to understand what's happening in the kitchen," he explained. "If my client has an unfavorable flavor note, I need to be able to assess the situation to understand why." That extra level of service and care undoubtedly stems from his love of food and his work alike, which fortunately for George, go hand and hand.
1 gallon seafood stock (or water to make own)
1/2 dozen fresh cleaned gumbo crabs (reserve the shells and heads for seafood stock)
2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1 inch rounds
2 pounds okra cut 1/4 inch
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (top saved for stock)
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (bottoms and tops saved for stalk)
1 bunch green onions, tops and bottoms, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound crab meat, picked and cleaned of shells and cartilage
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons filé powder
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups steamed white rice
1 - Clean the crabs, removing the lungs, heart and glands and other
parts so that only the pieces of shell containing meat (including the
legs, swimmers and claws) remain. Refrigerate the meaty parts.
2 - Put the portions of the crabs that have been removed into a 6 or
8-quart stockpot. Add the shrimp heads and shells, onion top,
celery bottom and tops, and gallon of water to the pot and bring to
a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30
minutes. Remove from the heat.
3 - Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, turning
occasionally, until the pieces are slightly brown and much of the fat
has been rendered. Remove the sausage and set aside on a
paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4 - Once all the sausage has been cooked, wipe the excess oil from
the skillet, being careful not to scrub away those bits of sausage
that have stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Add the okra with 2
tablespoons of oil, and cook until it is no longer slimy. Put on paper
towel and set aside.
5 - Place the 1/2 cup vegetable oil in a 12-quart stockpot. Heat the oil
over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, a tablespoon at a time
slowly add the 1/2 cup flour to prepare the roux, stirring constantly.
Once all the flour has been added, continue heating and stirring
the roux until it becomes a medium brown color, similar to milk
chocolate, about 15-20 minutes. Add the onions to the roux,
stirring constantly. Once the onions are wilted, add the garlic,
parsley, celery, green onions and bell pepper. Strain the seafood
stock into the large stockpot. Add the browned sausage and bay
leaves and bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat. Then
reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook.
6 - Add the okra to the gumbo pot. Continue cooking the gumbo for
45-60 minutes. Add the reserved crabs and shrimp and cook for 15
minutes longer. Remove the gumbo from the heat and stir in the
Creole seasoning and filé powder (powder can be reserved for use
table side). Let the gumbo rest for 15 to 20 minutes. As it cools, oil
may form on the top. Skim the oil with a ladle or large spoon and
discard. Fold in the picked crab meat. Taste the gumbo and adjust
seasoning with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve the gumbo
ladled around a mound of steamed rice.