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, Washington DC. Here at Acadiana, we are doing a modern interpretation of Louisiana cuisine from Abbeville, Louisiana down to New Orleans. Today, I am going to show you how to make New Orleans style barbeque shrimp.
The ingredients are fresh shrimp from gulf, also Lee & Perrin's, Tabasco and Worcestershire, which is the typical barbeque in Louisiana. Also the fresh garlic, bay leaves, a little bit of Abita Amber Beer, rosemary and black pepper, so lets get started.
We are going to show you here is how to clean shrimp for our New Orleans style barbeque shrimp. We got here is some U10 which means basically under 10 per pound, head on fresh gulf shrimp and they really dont get any much fresher than that. So, you can tell a real fresh shrimp, their heads are not going to be black, it should be very clean like such and you can really see the firmness. The head should be able when you pull it, it should not have any issues with coming off. If it comes off real quickly then the shrimp has obviously had some days out of the water. These are very fresh, we just had them flown in right in from the gulf.
So, what we are going to do is first you going to need have a little pry-knife here and there are couple of ways you can do it. Alright take the pry-knife and go right up to the back, keeping the head intact, you like have the head intact and if you are not comfortable holding it your hands you can put it on the cutting-board, but I am going to show you how to do with holding your hands first, this is how we do it at the restaurant. You take it, you rub up the side, rub the back and then you peel the shrimp as such like this and then you remove it, leaving the tail section in, see how easy that is, and then you also want to get that last little vein out, just drawing your finger down and if not put it on the board and you just going to go and cut that vein out, very lightly, not traditionally, not to take to much meat off. We are going to do one on the board.
You put the shrimp on the board as such and then put the knife, make sure you are careful of sharp point here because if you not you are going to stick yourself. So, have the knife back facing towards you and the sharp-end the blade facing towards the shell and making sure you tuck this part of the head and you dont cut yourself. You put it right down the back, and as you go down the back, you want to stop right before the bottom of the base of tail and when you do that, you are going to have it come out like this, it is going to butterfly and you are going to get that vein. See there, at the vein, the exact same time. So, you are going to pull away and as you pull it away here, you are going to get everything out that you want.
You are going to get the shell off and you are going to get the vein. So do it real slow so you can see it, not to remove the head because you see all that fat, thats where all the flavor is, thats where we are going to get it out on there for the dish. You remove it all, put to the side, you have a completely clean shrimp. The tail for presentation but the shell from the meat, body removed and the head which you want to keep on because of that fat for the flavor and thats how you clean fresh head on shrimp.