A worker displays a fresh gulf oyster at P&J Oyster Co. in New Orleans Thursday, June 10, 2010. Work is coming to a halt at the 134-year-old establishment after oyster beds were closed because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.Audra D.S. Burch
NEW ORLEANS — Celebrity Chef Frank Brigtsen coated the squid in a perfect blend of seasoned cornmeal then dropped the batch into a vat of oil at Charlie's Seafood, a beloved neighborhood joint.
After a lifetime in Louisiana, 38 years as an architect of Creole cuisine inspired by the gifts of the Gulf of Mexico, this was one of the first times he had served diners fried calamari.
Before BP oil's endless flow threatened the supply and upped price of fish and shellfish by up to 30 percent, a hankering for southern fried seafood at this 60-year-old landmark would have yielded a heaping plate of crispy Louisiana oysters.
"'Charlie's is a place that celebrates Louisiana seafood and here I am frying calamari from Rhode Island," says Brigtsen, an award-winning chef who also owns his eponymously named contemporary Creole cuisine restaurant uptown. "I feel like somehow I am betraying my customers by not giving them oysters. I feel like I am wearing someone else's clothes." READ COMPLETE STORY