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Recipes to take a shine to: StarShine’s chefs share some of their best


StarShine celebrity chef Robert St. John instructs local participants in a cooking demonstration during StarShine earlier this month. Author and columnist St. John, of the Purple Parrot Cafe in Hattiesburg, shares some of his recipes this week.

StarShine celebrity chef Robert St. John instructs local participants in a cooking demonstration during StarShine earlier this month. Author and columnist St. John, of the Purple Parrot Cafe in Hattiesburg, shares some of his recipes this week. Photo by: Courtesy


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Chef Ty Thames, left, of Restaurant Tyler in Starkville was selected Judges’ Choice winner with his wild boar bacon-wrapped fig dessert with candied pecan cheesecake filling. The filling recipe is found in today’s food pages. Restaurant general manger Hall Roberts, center, and Thames’ business partner, Brian Kelley, are also pictured.


Chef Matt Reid of The Bistro in Starkville was voted Best of StarShine by attendees and shares his recipe this week for catfish and Edam cheese mashed potatoes used in his Mississippi surf ’n turf dish.



Jan Swoope



Ever wished you could tap into some of the most creative dishes devised by great chefs? Today is your day. Recipes that wowed the crowd — and judges — at the Starkville Area Arts Council’s StarShine culinary extravaganza at The Bistro in Starkville Aug. 7-8 are yours to try.  


Thanks to the generosity of celebrity chef Robert St. John — named the state’s top chef for three consecutive years by Mississippi magazine — you can experiment with favored recipes prepared at StarShine and featured in his renowned Purple Parrot Cafe in Hattiesburg. . 


StarShine’s Chef Ty Thames, of Starkville’s Restaurant Tyler, also shares the recipe for a component used in his Judges’ Choice Award-winning wild boar bacon-wrapped fig dessert made during a chefs’ cook-off with six of the area’s top culinary talents.  


Chef Matt Reid, of The Bistro, was voted by attendees as the Best of StarShine winner and offers his recipe for Edam cheese and catfish mashed potatoes. The potatoes were used in Reid’s Mississippi surf n’ turf creation, which also featured a mustard green coulis, heart of ribeye, fried frog leg and asparagus, topped with basil blueberry barbecue sauce.  


Thames shared, “I chose to do (the fig dessert) stuffed with candied pecan cheesecake filling, served with molasses custard sauce and finished with muscadine ‘ice cubes,’ with a fresh fig brule, because these are all local items, and I personally pick the figs and muscadines from a friend’s back yard in Starkville.” 


(Thames explained the muscadine ice cubes are made by reducing fresh muscadine grapes with muscadine wine, adding a little honey, and setting the mixture in gelatin. Once set, squares resembling ice cubes are cut.)  


St. John served as one of the cook-off judges and conducted an entertaining cooking demonstration, as well as masterminding a summer seafood feast for the StarShine finale dinner. That menu dazzled with corn and crab bisque, baked shrimp and squash, sensation salad, roasted pork loin with muscadine glaze, au gratin potatoes and white chocolate bread pudding.  


“Don’t be scared by a list of ingredients,” the master chef and food columnist advised at the cooking class as he broke down some of his favorite Purple Parrot recipes. “Ingredients are not hard to handle if you measure out everything ahead of time.” 


And with that advice, enjoy these creative StarShine recipes. For more of Chef St. John’s recipes, e-mail [email protected]  






Servings: eight  




6 cups squash, sliced into 1/2 inch discs 


1/4 cup clarified butter (or margarine) 


1 tablespoon garlic 


1 teaspoon salt  


1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 


1 tablespoon Creole seasoning 


1/2 cup green onion (chopped) 




For the shrimp: 


3 cups fresh shrimp (36-42 count), peeled and de-veined 


1/4 cup clarified butter (or margarine) 


1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning 


1 tablespoon garlic 


1/2 cup onion (chopped) 


1/4 cup red bell pepper 


1/4 cup green bell pepper 


4 tablespoons butter 


1/2 cup Parmesan cheese  


1 cup cheddar cheese (grated) 


1 cup sour cream  


1/4 cup green onion 


1 tablespoon Crescent City Grill cayenne and garlic sauce 




For the topping: 


1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (pulsed until fine in Cuisinart) 


1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 


2 tablespoons parsley (chopped) 




  • Sauté the first seven ingredients until the squash is al dente (still firm when bitten), and pour into a stainless steel mixing bowl.  


  • Sauté the next seven ingredients until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Transfer shrimp to the mixing bowl with the squash.  


  • To the bowl add the butter, Parmesan, cheddar, sour cream, green onion and cayenne and garlic sauce. Separately mix together the Ritz crumbs, Parmesan and parsley.  


  • Place equal portions of the mixture into eight individual gratin dishes (or one large casserole dish); top with the cracker crumb mixture and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. 








Servings: eight  




1 /2 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise 


Two egg yolks 


1 tablespoon sherry 


1 tablespoon Creole mustard 


1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed 


1 teaspoon Crescent City Grill Creole Seasoning 


1 teaspoon Worcestershire 


1 teaspoon Crescent City Grill Cayenne and Garlic Sauce 


1 /3 cup red bell pepper, small dice 


1 /3 cup green bell pepper, small dice 


1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat 


1 /2 pound backfin lump crabmeat 


Two 8-ounce wheels Brie or camembert cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes  


6 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs 


Eight oven-proof ramekins or scallop shells 




  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  


  • Combine the first eight ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Stir in peppers. Gently fold crabmeat into the liquid mixture, making sure not to break up the crabmeat lumps.  


  • Place a layer of crabmeat mixture into a 6-ounce ramekin, then two cubes of Brie and another layer of crab. Top with seasoned breadcrumbs and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bubbly and breadcrumbs are brown. Garnish with chopped parsley. 










5 ounces white chocolate 


Four egg yolks 


One egg 


1/4 cup sugar 


2 teaspoons vanilla extract 


1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 


1/2 cup milk 


1/4 teaspoon salt 


French bread as needed (crusts cut off, and cut into 1-inch cubes) 




For the white chocolate sauce: 


8 ounces white chocolate 


1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 




  • Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler. In another double boiler over moderate heat, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, whipping cream, milk and salt. When blended and warm, add melted chocolate.  


  • Place bread in buttered custard cups and pour the white chocolate mixture over it. Allow the mixture to settle, and pour more over the bread, pushing bread that floats to the top down with a spoon. (There should be just enough liquid to soak into the bread without any excess.) 


  • Place the cups in a shallow baking dish and fill the dish with water halfway up the sides of the cups. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  


  • Remove paper and cook an additional 15 minutes, until the tops reach a light golden brown.  


  • For the sauce, melt white chocolate in a double boiler, add heavy cream and blend thoroughly. This sauce will hold in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave until just warm.  


  • Use a paring knife to remove bread pudding from the custard cups and serve on individual plates topped with white chocolate sauce. (White chocolate bread pudding can be held in the refrigerator for two or three days and reheated in the microwave until just warm. This recipe can also be made into a larger batch in a casserole dish instead of individual portions, and scooped out with a spoon and placed into a bowl.) 










1 pound cream cheese 


2 cups powder sugar 


1 tablespoon vanilla 


1 cup honey roasted pecans (add 1/2 cup Mississippi honey) 


3/4 cup maple syrup 


1/2 cup heavy cream 


1 cup Mississippi honey 


Pinch of salt 




  • In a sauté pan, roast pecans until golden brown. Add 1 cup of Mississippi honey.  


  • In a mixer, add all ingredients and mix until smooth. 








1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed  


1/2 cup heavy cream 


1/2 cup milk 


8 ounces MSU butter 


8 ounces Mississippi farm-raised catfish meat, diced and par-baked 


6 ounces MSU Edam cheese, small diced 


1 teaspoon thyme, chopped 


Salt as needed 


Pepper as needed 




  • Wash the potatoes, but do not peel.  


  • Cover potatoes with 2 inches of cold water in a large soup pot. Add kosher salt as needed (about 1 tablespoon for every quart of water). Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and place on a towel to dry and cool down.  


  • Bring cream and milk to a boil in a sauce pan. Set it aside for later.  


  • Pe


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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