Chris ClimeWhen you’ve mastered Caesar Salad by the age of nine, where else is there to go but into a culinary career? Christopher Clime followed his destiny, and he now finds himself perched at the top of one of the hottest restaurants in town. As Chef de Cuisine at Acadiana, the newest sister restaurant of the popular DC Coast, TenPenh, and Ceiba restaurants in Washington, Clime brings his version of Louisiana-inspired cuisine to the nation’s capital, which he calls home. And make no mistake: home is an important word to Christopher Clime. Clime had a colorful childhood in northern Virginia and in Puerto Rico, where his father was Commanding Officer at Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. No matter where they lived, the Climes were always entertaining – their guests often high-ranking dignitaries – and for the Clime family, entertaining was always a family affair. Graduating at 17, Clime headed straight for Providence, Rhode Island, and Johnson & Wales University. Following his New England training, Clime stayed focused on the South. Post-graduation opportunities were waiting in Charleston, South Carolina, at the very exclusive five-diamond Woodlands Resort, where Clime served as chef de partie, a job he describes as “basically, a jack-of-all-trades.” His six years in Charleston gave him a solid grounding in the techniques, traditions, and flavors of southern cooking. It also brought him to the attention of a major corporation that brings him to Augusta, Georgia as a private chef for its executives and guests at The Masters Golf Tournament, an opportunity he still looks forward to every year, serving lavish banquets often based on Low Country cuisine. But while things were going well and he was receiving rave reviews in Charleston, Christopher Clime’s future suddenly had to be put on hold; his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had him return immediately home to Virgina. Needing a distraction at one point, he brought his application to Jeff Tunks at DC Coast, and was immediately hired as a tournant (“basically, another jack-of-all-trades position, a kind of substitute Sous Chef”), which suited Clime’s schedule well. After a year of constant dedication to his mother’s care, Clime was ready to take on more responsibility. Clime forged ahead at DC Coast and then at TenPenh, which provided a creative outlet for this young man during a trying time in his life. All the while, Tunks and his team were already planning the third jewel in their crown, and Clime was the logical candidate for Chef de Cuisine. Clime’s youth in Puerto Rico had imbued him with an inherent sense of Latin cuisine. Two years later, Tunks and his partners were set to open Acadiana, a fourth restaurant that would draw its inspiration from the rich culinary tradition of southern Louisiana. Tunks had spent four years in New Orleans, and knew just what he wanted the restaurant to be. He also knew just what he was looking for in a Chef de Cuisine, and again tapped Christopher Clime. Clime explains that authentic Louisiana cooking is what they serve at Acadiana, but with a contemporary, urban approach for their Washington clientele. “We peel the shrimp for you, but flavor it with the same delicate combination of Creole seasonings we found again and again in rural Louisiana – paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper.” Acadiana is enjoying unprecedented popularity, and already, in November 2006, Christopher Clime has been named one of Washington’s Top Ten Hottest Chefs by DC Style magazine. Has it gone to his head? Not at all: he’s found the ideal balance – his beloved southern cooking, right here at home.
Chris Clime: Hello my name is Chris Clime I am the Chef de Cuisine at Acadiana Restaurant. Right now we are going show you how to make shrimp stock for New Orleans Style Barbeque Shrimp. First we are going to take our pot; we are going to turn the flame on high. We want to add a little bit of butter, we call as one knob of butter. As we add the actually butter to the pan, well let it until the butter kind of melts. Were then going to add the shells and we are going to then add the rest of our ingredients. Okay, we are melting the butter right now, the butter is melted. Once the butter is melted, okay, still got a little bit of heat to it but not too hot. You dont really want to brown the butter. We are going to add our shrimp shells and when you hear the applause that means that you got a good heat to it. The applause is that sound right there, when the actually shrimp shells are cooking. So, we are going to roast the shells a little bit, while they are roasting we are going to also add some of our aromatics.
We are going to add a little bit of black pepper, fresh ground pepper preferably. We are going to add some Creole seasoning -- maybe all of it. We are going to add some shallots, some bay leaves, some garlic. As you can hear the noise, we are roasting the shells right now. As the shells are roasting, you really can smell the pepper and the Creole seasoning. Now what we are going to do is, we are going to glaze with some Abita Amber. We are going to start off, it can be a little bit cold, thats what we call the glazing, we hit it with the Abita. We let that cook down a little bit and then we are going to add our Worcestershire sauce, we add a little bit of that. We start to reduce a little bit. We added the Lee & Perrins Sauce and after Lee & Perrins we are going to now switch -- we are going to add water to our stock. We add our water, enough water to barely cover the shrimp shells, we need a little bit more water than that and we are going to just cover the shells.
Once the shells are covered as you can see like here, we are going to cook this for about 15 or 20 minutes, because theres not many shells in there, the more the shells, it is going to increase the cooking time a little bit more. Since, we have a little bit of liquid in there, about 15-20 minutes on a low simmer and then once thats done, we are going to roll into make it our New Orleans Style Barbeque Shrimp, here at Acadiana Restaurant, Washington DC.