TOP CHEF: Darryl Jackson

Darrel Jackson, Brass Hat
Darrell Jackson, 57, is a native of the New Orleans area. He graduated from culinary school at Baltimore International Culinary College. After graduating, Jackson returned to New Orleans and ran multiple Italian and Creole restaurants such as Salvatore Ristorante. He then moved to Mississippi in 1998 and has since worked at various locations from the Beau Rivage to Afghanistan for the troops. Being in the business for 35 years, Darrell says that what he loves about cooking is “enjoying the creativity and ability to express yourself through cooking, as well as the ability to diversify and produce food for any industry.”

What’s one ingredient that you can’t live without?

What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
’80s rock  

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?
Middle Eastern

What’s the best part about being a chef? 
Overall the best thing is the variety of people you get to meet.

What’s the most challenging part of being a chef? 
One of the most challenging things can be the hours and trying to please everyone’s tastes. 

What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food?
Giant burritos.

If you could cook for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? 
Elvis Presley. Rumor has it that he had a very diverse palate.

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner? 
A guy wanted his hollandaise sauce heated up, but did not understand that it would in fact turn the sauce into scrambled eggs…

If not a chef in the Pine Belt, what city would you like to work in? 
Baltimore, Maryland


Crab Cakes (for Brass Hat’s Crab Cake BLT)

2 lbs  fresh lump crab
2 oz     yellow onion, diced
2 oz     green bell pepper, diced
2 c       seasoned panko crumbs
2T        butter
2 c       mayonnaise
3T        Creole mustard
3T        Old Bay seasoning
            salt & pepper


Deshell crabmeat from crab and set aside. Over a medium flame, sauté onion and bell pepper in butter until it becomes translucent. Transfer ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine all other ingredients except for crabmeat and Panko breadcrumbs. After completely mixed, gently fold in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Chill for at least half an hour. Once completely chilled, form into 4-ounce patties and sauté on flat-top stove for a minute and a half on each side. Place cooked crab cake on toasted challah bread, add dill aioli, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes and bacon.