Chef Philippe Parola discusses how to cook exotic dishes (and how to conserve the ecosystem while doing it)

Chef Philippe has one basic philosophy about cooking and ecosystems: If you Can’t beat eat, em!

Chef Phillipe cooking up some exotic food for President Gerald Ford

Cooking exotic Cajun Dishes with Chef Philippe Parola:

Check out Chef Philippe’s website: Can’t beat eat em:

http://www.cantbeatemeatem.us/

I’m Dr. Page, the best guy to see on the worst day of your life. I have one of the most interesting guests with me today: chef Philippe. He is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Is that correct?

Chef Philippe: Yes, it’s very correct.

French chef cooks exotic cajun dishes:

Dr. Chuck: Now. Let me tell you about Chef Philippe and cooking carp. I’ve been looking on his website and his you tube channel. He is quite the renaissance man. Chef Philippe is originally from Paris, but he moved to Louisiana many years ago as a chef. He’s got involved in conservation and ecosystems. Get this: a chef saves the ecosystem. Chef Philippe.

Have you ever been to Paris, Texas?

Philippe: No, I’m waiting for an invitation.

Dr. Page: Well, you’re, really not missing much. They do have a little copy of the Eiffel Tower if you go there. So, by the way I’m from Texas, Chef Philippe and I don’t, go into Louisiana. It scares me to death.

I’m afraid they’d throw me in one of those swamps down there and I’d never get out. You’re quite a brave guy coming from Paris to Louisiana. Tell me tell me, tell us a little bit about your story about how you got there.

Phillipe: Well, first uh. I am French. I blend well with the Cajuns over here. I have to understand the dialect. The old French. I do have a different dialect.

Dr. Chuck: It’s Oui, Oui, Merci, beaxcoup.

Philippe: My nickname was Frenchie. I have many friends all over Louisiana. I love the culture and I feel, like I’m in the countryside of France. Absolutely yes. So it really helped me to stay here and make Louisiana my home.

Dr. Chuck: For sure right? So you found a lot of similarities as far as the culture and the language. What was different about Louisiana?

Philippe: Well, um! You know the history itself is is phenomenal. I mean that’s when, the French were up in Canada. When they got kicked out by the English, they went down the Mississippi and they landed right at the end of the Mississippi.

You know by the delta and then they made Louisiana their home. It was an abundance of wildlife. They could fish or hunt or trap. They would put it up into that black pot and whatever they could put into it and put a roux. You know the family roux. Put it up together and they had a gumbo. Some kind of soup, if I may say, it was a meal. And that’s, how they survived. So gumbo started–like a poor meals.

IF you can’t beat them eat them:

Now in Louisiana, what you heard about the buyer best right? No, what’s that the best in in France and South France bouillabaisse a fish soup. It’s very popular. Well, it started to be a poor uh uh men’s meal, because that was a trash fish. Fishermen could not sell it so they made a soup out of it, but it ended up to be the best soup ever made.

Dr. Chuck:

I mean I think that’s, one of the amazing things about you. As I’ve been looking at your website by the way the name of your website is cantbeatemeatem.com.

Philippe: I came up with that probably 25 years ago.

Dr. Chuck: Well, what’s so neat about it is how you’ve, how you’ve, taken all these problems and turned them into possibilities. I think that’s, a great thing.

So let’s. We could start about any one of these type of animals. In fact, I’ve, been watching your youtube channel. You know I’m, a surgeon. I’ve, been watching you dissect. These fish and and dissect these nutria. Man, you ought to be a surgeon.

You’re, pretty good with the knife.

Philippe: Well, I don’t know about surgeon that’s for sure. I’ll leave it up to you on that one. I grew up uh trapping and hunting. I grew up as a kid in the 60s and, you know, France was still getting rebuilt from world war II.

We really didn’t have uh the luxury of going to grocery store like we do today. Really so meals were coming from mother nature. You go in the woods and you go fishing hunting, trapping picking, mushrooms chestnut whatever you could. That was the meal.

You know so um you got to know how to dress. You know the wrap the white rabbit, the wobble or you know anything like that or fish, and – and i learned that when i was a kid growing up so so so you just fit right into the cajuns there in louisiana man they just they just they just Opened their arms and said, come on in brother, we, we yeah the my mentality, was a little bit uh different.

My approach into the food culture um had that background, uh of of getting uh the the wild beast out of the wood and make it as a meal, but also i learned to my profession how to become the gummy chef i mean yeah.

You know i get the honor to prepare a meal for president bush and president ford so uh. You know, i know my business but um um. You got to have that mentality and that open mind that actually um you could take the the the swamp rat.

For instance, the nutria yeah, then they turn it into a dish that is spectacular and if you don’t know it is a swamp right. You’ll eat it and you say: oh my god. This is really good. You know well, nutri is kind of like a it looks, like kind of like a beaver or a bigger.

It’s kind of a large rat, and we ‘ Ve got pretty big. You know we’re texas. We got some pretty big rats. Yeah, these things are huge. They’re, at least the size of a football. Some of them here here’s, a problem, so it’s, kind of that nickname, a rat because it looked like a rat, but actually it’s, a it’s, a vegetarian.

It’s. A herbivore and they’re very clean animals, so it’s. Just a question of educating people about it. Uh a rat is an omnivore. It will lead to pretty much anything right, but those nutria they they really are they dive.

On the water they will eat uh roots and stems of plants which is high protein and um, and they they extremely nutritious. I mean the meat itself of nutria is extremely nutritious, the highest in protein content and the red meat period.

Dr. Chuck:

What is happening to the to the ecosystem in Louisiana with the nutria? I guess people have not been really. I haven’t been eating nutria because uh it’s. So what’s happening in Louisiana because we spoil with all the food that’s? Why is that? It is? Absolutely absolutely you know we we in America, we we, we’re, really blessed uh.

We are spoiled with food, you know it. I mean. Why should we adventure ourselves in eating a nutrient rat when, when you get access to so much food right, right, so uh, but but uh? Talking about your your question about the the ecosystem and the devastation from nutrias um, you know the wetland here.

Um in um, in louisiana in the gulf states actually is uh, is losing its ground really fast and uh. The vegetation barrier, uh kind of slow it down, and it was nutria when that they eat that vegetation.

So the erosion come up faster and we’re losing land faster. That’s. Why, 25 years ago I worked with the state department. The U. S. fishery, federal fisheries, and did that promotion about eating meat.

So we could put a value on the nutria and get the trappers going there and make it as a business. You have to be a business. Have you been effective in that? Oh absolutely, i was actually the leading chef on on that promotion. We did it for three years, but you know again, you know it’s founded in the part by the the state and the federal government, and you will think that all Those agencies will communicate.

You know to make this work right right, and then you have the fda at the uh usda that come up out there with these hard rules that you know you got to go catch the nutria alive, bring to a slaughterhouse get expected.

I mean you can do that it’s impossible. Do you have to have a license to kill nutria in losing? Well yeah a hunting license a basic hunting license that’s. All it’s, nothing, but it’s not like like, for example, in texas.

We have a deer license where you can only kill, maybe one two deer. You know no, but that’s, not restricted, because it is an invisible pieces, so uh uh. Actually I’m sure that um, the the policymakers will encourage to trap nutrias all year round because look at the wild boar all year round.

You can take one more and trap it and eat it. So so what kind of dishes do you like to make with nutrients? Oh, my God! Well, there is many, but you know you have to to talk simplicity for a year and um so uh, so they can duplicate what you do and and and make it as a solution to that problem.

So, you know. If you know to make a gumbo, which is very popular, you know uh, i i would absolutely recommend to make a gumbo out of it. I mean you, take the nutria uh. You can put it on a barbecue pit very easy season.

It just like you will do a pork loin, for instance, and then you can take when it’s fully cooked you take most the meat of the bones and you can put it into a a a gumbo pot or yeah with pasta. You know or make a race a dirty rice with it.

Dr. Page: We Texas people think the people over there in Louisiana eat crazy stuff. I was looking at some of your menu on your website which, by the way is cantbeatemeatem.com.

One of them was nutria, a la orange.

Philippe: Well, you know a lot of people., ask me what what the meat compared to and it’s really compared to to duck. If you may say really like duck uh it’s kind of dark and and and concerned.

Maybe any protein yeah and the canal duck allorance is a very famous dish in the whole classic right. You heard of that with another orange sauce, so i did one similar with with the nutria, because you know you can do it.

It’s about innovation. What is your favorite dish to make with nutria? Well, i’ll. Tell you what i love nutrient sausage because uh you know you number one. You have to blend it with some some some pork fat.

You know like you, will do uh the deer sausage, but it’s. Really. You know you can put up with all kind of sauce. You know and it’s a good meal and – and i love that it’s. Simple you, you can get to your uh, get the nutria, bring it to your sausage maker and he’ll make the sausage for you.

You don’t have to do it, but it’s, a good meal. It’s, really enjoyable, everybody eat it because they identified to it. You know what is that. Is that, like a breakfast sausage, or is that, like a sausage like for like an italian dish, you need it for breakfast.

If you want, i mean actually, i did eat it. For breakfast. I brought it to uh my fishing camp and grilled it and had it for breakfast. For sure i mean lunch dinner absolutely but uh. My second one would be uh the nutria stew.

You know with one mushroom, like the chong trail that you have actually in texas as well, sounds great and make a stew. You know with the red wine um that’s. Also incredible. You know like a rabbit stew, hey so uh for our lives about living audience.

I have with me today chef philippe and you can find him at cantbeatemeatem.com.

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