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[EATYALL PODCAST #60] EATYALL Encore: Simmons Catfish and Chef Cole Ellis

Feb 11, 2022 |

Pop quiz: what are bullheads, mudcats, and chuckleheads nicknames for? The catfish! It’s called something different in some US states, like you might call soft drinks soda, coke, or pop – but at Simmons Catfish in Yazoo City, Mississippi, their whiskered, flavor-rich product is delicious by any name, 

In this latest entry of Eatyall’s encore episode series, Andy tag teams with Matt Wyatt to catch up with Harry Simmons and Andy Prosser of Simmons Catfish. And just like a classic Scooby Doo episode, special guests abound: chef Cole Ellis stops in with updates on his restaurant and hotel projects, along with executive chef Cameron Shaw with Giardina’s Restaurant and farmer Lawrence Wagner of Two Brooks Farm. Together, these culinary minds mix catfish and grits with farm tour takeaways to make today’s episode a must-listen! 

Eating It Up At Simmons Catfish in Yazoo City, Mississippi

The Best Catfish In The Country. That’s what Andy said about Simmons Catfish after seeing their process and tasting their product. Hear from founder Harry Simmons about how four catfish ponds in 1982 became a thriving fish farm that routinely produces 100,000 lbs of catfish per day – all on the belief that “quality is everybody’s business.”

Building The Mississippi Delta Food Scene. Chef Cole Ellis updates Andy and Matt on moving his Delta Meat Market restaurant, and opening the Bar Fontaine rooftop bar, at the five-story Cotton House hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi – just down Cotton Row from the Grammy museum. Anyone up for a tasty, twangy vacation spot? 

The New And Familiar Faces Of Chef Camp. Cameron Shaw, Executive Chef of Giardina’s in Greenwood, MS, was so excited for his first Eatyall Chef Camp that he only got two hours of sleep the night before! Joined by farmer Lawrence Wagner of Two Brooks Rice, amazing fish and grits recipe ideas start flying, while Andy Prosser at Simmons Catfish talks about the important role chefs play for his farm and other food producers.

With two hosts and five guests, this episode is like a full meal with the perfect portions – preferably with catfish! Dig in to today’s flashback to Chef Camp tidbits and vittles, and keep it at Eatyall for more of your favorite chefs, farmers, and food producers.

Today’s Guests 

Harry Simmons – www.simmonscatfish.com

As president of Simmons Catfish, Harry Simmons began farming cotton and soybeans in 1974 before shifting his focus to catfish, establishing four ponds in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in 1982. Today, Simmons Catfish proudly produces over 18 million pounds per year from its processing plant in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Chef Cole Ellis – www.deltameatmarket.com

Voted #3 in Best Chefs of the South by Southern Living in 2019, Cole Ellis graduated from the Culinary Institute of Charleston and worked in famed kitchens across Charleston and Nashville before returning to his hometown of Cleveland, Mississippi. There, Cole opened the Delta Meat Market restaurant and bar, now located at the Cotton House hotel – which also houses Cole’s other establishment, Bar Fontaine.

Chef Cameron Shaw – www.thealluvian.com/giardinas 

Cameron Shaw is the Executive Chef at Giardina’s Restaurant at the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, Mississippi. Having served at Giardina’s since 2008, Cameron is known for the passion and innovation that he brings to each of his dishes.

Farmer Lawrence Wagner – www.twobrooksfarm.com

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Lawrence Wagner represents the eleventh generation of his family’s farm, managing Two Brooks along with his sister, Abbey. Lawrence oversees the growth of specialty rice using eco farming practices which improve the local environment.

Andy Prosser – www.simmonscatfish.com

As Operations Manager at Simmons Catfish, Andy Prosser monitors the day-to-day process of growing, harvesting, processing, and shipping of their product. By prioritizing farming technology and communication with chefs and restaurants, Andy ensures the quality that the Simmons brand is known for.   

Connect With Our Guests

Harry Simmons and Andy Prosser

Simmons Catfish

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/simmonscatfish

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/simmonsfarmraisedcatfish

Chef Cole Ellis

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/coleellis1773

Delta Meat Market

Cotton House

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/deltameatmarket

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/deltameatmarket

Chef Cameron Shaw

Giardina’s Restaurant

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/the_alluvian

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Giardinas

Farmer Lawrence Wagner

Two Brooks Farm

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/twobrooksrice

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/twobrooksrice

Listen to Episode #60 on Spotify now >>

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A video version of the EATYALL Podcast can be found on YouTube, and you can discover the EATYALL Podcast on Amazon and Audible via search. The EATYALL Podcast is hosted by Andy Chapman, CEO and founder of EATYALL. EATYALL serves the food and farm community with effective chef outreach services. To learn more or inquire about chef outreach activities on behalf of your organization, please reach out here. To learn more about consulting services available to individual farmers, ranchers and seafood processors interested in starting or scaling a “farm to table” business, please reach out here.

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