Cast & Cleaver’s Jacob Deshotel feels a pinch of inflation E! News UK
Jacob Deshotels started at the bottom and worked its way up the restaurant ladder.
“I was in Baton Rouge to go to LSU,” he said. “I took a dishwasher job to earn money to help me finish my education and I never left.”
He has been a cook, chef and general manager. Now, as owner of Cast & Cleaver, Sulfur, he has the satisfaction of making the big decisions, but also the challenges that come with restaurant ownership. Food, in general, is getting more and more expensive. Local seafood has taken a leap forward.
“We get our oysters from Port Sulfur,” he said. “When the hurricane passed, not only did it damage the oyster beds, but the factories were left without water, which is necessary for processing. Now that they have got their water back, things are picking up again, but the prices have really gone up.
A gallon of shucked oysters costs over $90,” he said. Gulf shrimp are $10 a pound for ages 21-25 and Louisiana catfish are $7 a pound. That’s about $3 a pound more for shrimp, $2 more a pound, and nearly $30 more a gallon for oysters than 2019.”
Deshotels said some restaurants have started using basa or pangasius, which is a Southeast Asian catfish, and brown shrimp from the Indian Ocean.
“It just doesn’t taste the same,” he said. “Louisiana catfish has its own flavor and texture. Basa fish is squishy, it doesn’t have the same scaliness.
Deshotel said one of the secrets to good cooking is to start with good ingredients. He knows Cast and Cleaver is not a fine dining restaurant. But it’s not fast food either. Its goal is to always provide good quality food in a comfortable atmosphere for a wide range of customers. For Valentine’s Day, he came up with something upscale, sirloin served over mashed potatoes with demi-glace and asparagus on the side.
The brunch menu includes soft-shell crab benedict and other items that keep West Calcasieu residents on their side of the bridge. Crayfish Mamou, smothered in crayfish over catfish and rice, is Deshotels’ take on a menu item from his past experience. He didn’t get the chance to use his experience to create the dining room he envisions for the future. But that’s part of the plan.
“To me, it looks too much like a cafeteria,” he said.
Deshotel has people to cook for him at Cast & Cleaver, but at home, it’s up to him.
“My wife does a little cooking, but not a lot,” he said. “She doesn’t really have a favorite dish. She just comes in and says, ‘I’m hungry. are you feeding me?’