SHREVEPORT, La. - If you spend just five minutes with George Beaird, you'll know instantly that he loves what he does.
"There's a whole language in the kitchen," Beaird says.
But, he didn't always speak that lanuage.
His story starts in the early 1990's at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport where he had an extra elective to spare.
"I figured I'd take the 'foods and advance food' class because there would be a lot of girls!" he said with a chuckle. "I discovered a genuine love for cooking from that class."
He went on to college to pursue a nursing degree, but soon discovered scrubs just weren't the right fit.
That's when a chance encounter on the Bossier Parish Community College campus made him wonder if a chef's jacket would fit him better.
"I saw the chef walking across the campus," Beaird recalls. "I liked cooking a lot, but didn't think I could make a career of it. I ended up graduating and was one of the top students from BPCC's program back when they were still at Airline High School."
He then ventured to Nashville, Tennessee for an apprenticeship before coming back to his hometown.
Now, through decades of perseverance, he's living his passion as the Port Grill's Executive Chef.
"We work a lot of of hours, but every morning I get up... I like coming to work," he explained. I've always loved what I do. Cooking for people... when they enjoy what you create for them it's like instant gratification."
Heading a chef inspired restaurant like the Port Grill is a true exercise of the mind, body and soul.
It takes physical strength and team work in the kitchen, plus ingenuity.
The menu is a personal work of his mental creativity.
It's all lead to he and the restaurant starting a new chapter with the launch of a monthly wine dinner on Wednesday Dec. 13th.
We got to hit the kitchen for a sneak peak at the first appetizer: a sweet potato nested *duck* egg with a cane syrup vinaigrette.
"They're a little bit different," Beaird says why I ask about the locally sourced duck egg. "They're richer. They've got a bigger flavor. Not to mention, they're duck. I've got a love affair."
The poached egg goes with a made-from-scratch vinaigrette.
"The secret of any vinaigrette is a little bit of vinegar and a whole lot of oil," he explained. "But, we've got some other ingredients. A little famous creole mustard, then ribbon cane syrup... one of my favorite things in the world."
Crispy fried shredded sweet potato makes your nest and, voila!
Even Executive Chef Beaird was delighted at his recipe creation.
"I'm going to tell you something. This is the first time of done this together like this. Right here right now. I'm just going to say... that's awesome!" he explained after his first taste.
I completely agreed after having a taste myself.
Beaird says these are the moments that nourish his soul.
"We've been here six months and every morning I'm waking up like, 'this is my menu. This is my menu. People are coming in to eat my food and they're loving it.' And, that's just a beautiful thing," he said.
And, you can taste this new creation at the first wine dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 13th.
To make a reservation, give The Port Grill a call at: 318-208-8767
Or, message them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PortGrillShreveport
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