Southern Chef Spotlight: Anthony Lamas

From growing up on a farm to cooking in kitchens across the country, Chef Anthony Lamas brings an uncommon voice to Louisville’s culinary landscape.

Looking back at chef Anthony Lamas’ childhood, the man was destined to be an artist using food as his medium. As a child in southern California, his mother’s heirloom recipes sparked his interest in the cuisine of his Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. His passion for food developed further as a teenager working in his family’s Spanish restaurant. By helping to prepare meals on the family farm and participating in Future Farmers of America, Lamas was practicing the “farm to table” philosophy long before it was a national movement. To him, it was just a way of life.

Finding His Point of View

Unsure of where to take his agricultural and culinary background after high school, Lamas applied for several jobs as a cook. What he found ended up being a pivotal point in his career. Lamas trained with the San Diego Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked with Jeff Tunks at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Under Tunks’ tutelage, Lamas explored West Coast flavors while developing Pacific Rim recipes, and he credits the acclaimed chef as his mentor. It was in this environment of mixing traditional recipes with local flavors where Chef Lamas had his aha moment: “I could do this with my mama’s food!”

Finding his home

In 1992, Lamas discovered Louisville, Ky., as an emerging culinary destination. Always inspired by his Latin heritage, Lamas began crafting innovative recipes with locally sourced Southern ingredients. His style of cooking was unique to the area, and in 2005 he opened Seviche to rave reviews. Since then, Lamas continues to garner significant national attention for the restaurant. He has cooked at the James Beard House five times, and he was honored as a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southeast award in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Still, Chef Lamas remains hungry and curious. Today, Seviche is the chef’s pride and joy, but also his playground.

Meet him at the Seafood Festival

Lamas is one of three award-winning chefs offering the ultimate culinary tour de force at the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival’s James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour. The event is set for 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Omni’s Shorehouse. This one-night-only, multi-course, line-to-table dinner with wine pairings also includes Barton Seaver of Portland and Elliott Moss of Asheville. Find more information and purchase tickets at hiltonheadseafoodfestival.com.

Organizational Tip: Put everything in its place

I always recommend to people that keeping your kitchen organized and doing mise en place (prep) ahead of time makes for a stress-free dinner. Chop and dice ahead of time and put them into plastic baggies and then into one container in the fridge. Also, if cooking for a large amount of people, grill or sear meats, proteins, etc. and then put on sheet trays and finish cooking in the oven rather than trying to cook all the way through individually.

— Chef Anthony Lamas, Seviche restaurant

Enjoy a unique take on the classic Shrimp Chaufa or Peruvian Fried Rice dish from the team at Seviche. This recipe is sure to ignite your taste buds so make sure to keep a drink handy to cool down with. Tell Chef Lamas what you think about this recipe when he is here for the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival.

Seviche: Peruvian Shrimp Chaufa

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 pound 16/20 shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 ounces chopped garlic
4 ounces chopped ginger
2 ounces sesame oil
2 ounces aji rocoto or sambal chili
2 ounces canola or peanut oil
2 eggs
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 jalapeños, sliced
1 cup sliced cabbage
1 cup fresh peas (cooked)
2 ounces toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 to 4 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup sliced green onion for garnish
Cilantro for garnish

Rub shrimp with garlic, ginger, sesame oil and chili. Let marinate for two hours.
[2] In a hot skillet or wok, add canola oil to medium heat. Cook shrimp for three minutes.
[3] Add eggs and cook for one minute.
[4] Add all the liquid from the marinade and the remaining ingredients except the green onion and cilantro. Cook another two minutes.
[5] Add hot rice. Mix together. Plate the mixture, adding three to five shrimp per person. Top with green onion and cilantro.

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