gulf of mexico

New Cookbook: Third Coast Cuisine



Celebrity Chef Stuart Reb Donald Pledges A Portion Of The Proceeds Of His Latest Cookbook To Aid Clean-up of the Gulf Oil Spill.

Mobile, AL – Award winning food writer and chef Stuart Reb Donald has once again opened his culinary bag of tricks for his latest cookbook Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Donald, long established as one of the most passionate food writers in the blogosphere, offers a over 150 recipes, 11 essays and 70 color photos of the diverse foods to be found along the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the author, “The Third Coast is an area of amazing diversity. From the Yucatan to the Keys you can find any number of indigenous and immigrant cooking styles like Mexican, Cajun, Native American and even Soul Food.” The Third Coast is a popular nickname for the states along the Gulf of Mexico as well as parts of Mexico and Cuba. “The people that live here are amazingly resilient and that resiliency has been on display for most of this century. Ivan, Rita, Katrina and dozens of other storms plus the oil spill have taken their best shots at us but we keep bouncing back. The Deep South has a culinary tradition unmatched in the New World. Dixie is to America what Tuscany is to Italy, what Provence is to France, it is the nation’s gastronomic heart and soul.”

Chef Donald will be donating a percentage of the sales of Third Coast Cuisine to assist in the recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

For review copies, personal appearances and/or author interviews, contact the author HERE.

About Stuart Reb Donald

A 24 year veteran of the restaurant industry, Stuart Reb Donald has worked every position from dish washer up to chef. Most recently he was the Executive Chef at Mars Hill Café in Mobile, AL. In 2003 he combined his love of food and gift for writing to produce his first cookbook Amigeauxs – Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine (4 Star Publishing). He has written hundreds of articles for both print and electronic media including interviews of noted chefs like Bobby Flay, Ted Allen, Michael Symon, Tory McPhail and Susan Irby. He is the author of and – the companion site to the cookbook. Stuart has been a regular guest on TV shows along the Gulf Coast and often uses his culinary skills for good by helping to raise money for organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Bay Area Food Bank.

Brown Tide: A Day on the Bayou

The following is an excerpt from a piece I did after visiting Bayou La Batre, Alabama this weekend.  Bayou La Batre is one of the small fishing villages threatened by the Gulf Oil Slick.  The full article is available at

For over half a century the people of Bayou La Batre, Alabama have gathered for a ceremony that is both a celebration and a memorial.  They pray for a safe and bountiful fishing season and remember those who have lost their lives in seasons past.  This small fishing village does not have the sugar white beaches and sparkling high-rise condominiums so often associated with the Third Coast.  For every Destin there are a dozen Bayou La Batre’s.

The people who live here work hard just to scrape by in a profession that is equal parts heritage and obsession.  Ask anyone who has ever made a living on a boat and they will tell you once the sea gets in your blood there is no getting it out.  Things have been particularly rough in Bayou La Batre after equal devastation from both Ivan and Katrina and now the looming oil spill.

My reason for venturing to the Bayou was to be a judge in the annual Gumbo Cook-off.  But as the event neared it was obvious that I would be experiencing something much more than a gaggle of gumbo.  Any thoughts I had of a blog post filled with flowery descriptions of spices and the richness of broth were now metaphorically obscured by crude oil.   In this town full of rugged people I saw despair etched on the faces of everyone.  As one festival organizer told me, the oil slick has, “certainly been the topic of conversation.”


Diary of a Wannabe TV Chef – PT 7

This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career,” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most important elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.

Chef de Casserole

I had been working as a sous chef for this national chain restaurant for about four months when I read the ad in the local newspaper. It went something like, “Sous chefs needed for new gourmet market and cafe.” The new market was being opened by Mobile’s top (i.e. only) celebrity chef. This was a fantastic opportunity. The concept of the new market was intriguing – locally grown organic produce, seasonings and spices from around the world, fine wines and imported beers, and the most creative thing was frozen dinners made in house.

The other side of the building was an amazing hot bar and deli. The menu featured Southern staples like ribs and fried catfish at the country bar, Panko encrusted halibut and bourbon braised beef tenderloin at the gourmet bar, and fantastic sandwiches like the Southern style BLT made with romaine, apple wood smoked bacon, and fried green tomatoes.

I began my career at the market working in the hot bar making whatever the executive chef or the owner decided we would make that day. I preferred working on the gourmet bar because its menu changed everyday while the country bar never changed. The gourmet bar was where all of the action was. Sometimes these recipes were written down and were followed without derivation. Sometimes they were improvised on the spot like a Myles Davis trumpet solo. A jazz musician in another life I am drawn to improvisatory cooking. The gourmet bar often featured specials from the produce guy or the fish monger therefore we kind of just looked at what we had and made something up from there. It was a blast. What made it better was that I was no longer poor.

There was a job that the executive chef and the owner had been looking to fill. This person would at first work in the cafe kitchen preparing casseroles and such for the freezer department at the market next door. Once the holiday party and Mardi Gras ball seasons ended this person would then move to an off campus kitchen that they would run with a team of people to mass produce the frozen dinners and casseroles. We jokingly called this person the chef de casserole. We thought it was clever. Before too long my experience as a manager came to my new employer’s attention. Within six weeks of being hired I was being promoted.  I would be the chef de casserole.

I worked through the holidays cracking out as many casseroles and frozen dinners as I could. The problem is that I was usually lucky to have four square feet to work with. The cramped kitchen was simply too small to get any real production done. Finally I was moved to the spare kitchen that had been purchased to aide in Katrina relief meals. This kitchen was huge. A bank of convection ovens and three 100 gallon steam kettles. There were no stoves yet, so sautéeing was out of the question but I did learn how to roast my mirepoix and Creole trinity.

Before long I was given two production cooks and a dishwasher. I began setting up schedules for casserole production and teaching recipes to the new staff. Things were going well or so it seemed.

One Friday afternoon the culinary manager for the company stopped by to let me know that the accountant had said that we could no longer afford to keep my kitchen open.  The market was doing okay, but was not yet at a level to support the start up on my project.  It had to be put on hold.  Six weeks after having been promoted and just three months after being hired, my entire staff, myself included, were laid off.

To make matters worse I got laid off three days before my birthday. Happy birthday, huh? It was a bad time for the restaurant market in Mobile and I ended up taking a part time job as a line cook for a national BBQ chain. It paid little and was easily the worst restaurant job of my life. I spent my hours there thinking of how I could get out of the place. I went through the paper religiously looking for better jobs.

A few things looked iinteresting: oyster shucker down on the bayou, a temp job with a caterer making box lunches, and running the galley on an offshore oil rig in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico – during hurricane season. All of them sounded better than what I was doing but they were even worse paying.

It was at this lowly point in my career that I would once again have a newspaper ad dramatically change my life.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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