Several times a year, a select group of chefs connect with one another over fresh air, fun and of course, good food, at an exclusive retreat called Eat Y’all Chef Camp. Simmons Catfish will host chefs for a farm tour at an upcoming retreat.

What is Eat Y’all Chef Camp?

Every chef worth her salt knows that a dish will never exceed the quality of the ingredients used to make it. That is one reason why we travel all over the South to locate those farmers and makers who dedicate themselves to providing the healthiest and best tasting ingredients for chefs and food lovers.

At Eat Y’all Chef Camp, chefs are introduced to the best Southern grown or made culinary products, and they enjoy the opportunity to meet the farmers and makers who provide the foundation for a successful career in the kitchen. They also enjoy farm and production tours, hands-on culinary collaboration and outdoor adventure.

Farm Tour: Simmons Farm Raised Catfish

One such farm is located in Yazoo City, Mississippi and produces some of the best catfish available today. Simmons Catfish is passionate about growing fish responsibly and using the utmost care in processing the meat at their farm-based production facility. The Simmons Catfish farm employs a special feeding process using a proprietary food blend which encourages the fish to feed from the top of the water, producing a milder, sweeter flavor in the meat.

The care in raising the fish also carries over to preparing the fish for market. Special processing techniques inside a pristine facility result in fillets which have a superior texture and flake. A prime example of this technique is a special type of fillet The Catfish Institute coined the Delacata Fillet.

Simmons Delacata Salad at LOLA in Covington, LA

Simmons Delacata Salad at LOLA in Covington, LA

This prime cut from the catfish fillet is extremely versatile. Catfish is not just for frying anymore! The mild, clean flavor of the Delacata Fillet is perfect for panéed, roasted or baked preparations with a flavor and texture almost indistinguishable to grouper.

(With that being said, we still think fried catfish is always a great idea, and you’ll find our recipe for Crispy Catfish with Citrus Wine Sauce in our Favorite Recipes.)

Simmons Catfish: A Family Farm Since 1977

Since 1977, under the leadership of Harry Simmons, the family farm has steadily grown into one of the largest catfish farming and processing operations in the country. Katy Simmons Prosser is the third generation of the family to advance the Simmons legacy. She is a classically trained chef and serves as Director of Marketing for Simmons Catfish. When chefs and consumers purchase the Simmons Catfish brand, they can know they are buying more than catfish. They are getting a Southern raised product from a family who stands behind the name on each box leaving the farm.

Harry Simmons of Simmons Catfish [Credit: Adam + Alli Photography and Inspiration Mississippi]

Harry Simmons of Simmons Catfish [Credit: Adam + Alli Photography and Inspiration Mississippi]

Chef Camp to Visit Simmons Catfish

During the Spring of 2018, a select group of chefs will descend upon the Simmons Catfish family farm as part of their Eat Y’all Chef Camp itinerary. Eat Y’all Chef Camp is a unique opportunity for chefs to get a hands-on Southern ingredient experience like no other. If you’ve grown a tomato from a seed, you know the time and patience involved in bringing a piece of produce to the table. This tomato commands respect, and we are likely to prepare it in a loving manner when we have toiled over it and tended its leaves all summer. When chefs and consumers come face to face with the people whose hard work and daily dedication produces that one tomato or that one catfish fillet, they will never look at the produce in quite the same way again. Eat Y’all is proud to provide this experience to an exclusive group of chefs at Simmons Catfish farm, and we look forward to playing a role in connecting many more farmers and chefs thru similar experiences in the future.

How to Order Simmons Catfish

Simmons Farm Raised Catfish in a variety of cuts and packaging types is available for purchase directly from the farm and a number of retailers and food service distributors, all available on their website or you can contact them directly at (662) 746-5687.

by Christy Graham, Managing Editor