By Mindy Ragan Wood
A chef whose Cajun food has landed him on the Food Network and won him appreciation from music stars served a steady stream of diners at the Chisholm Trail Festival last Saturday.
Chris “Shaggy” Davis is the NOLA Crawfish King from New Orleans and has become a festival favorite in the last five years.
“I followed the Grateful Dead around with long hair and that’s how I got my nickname,” he said between cooking sessions. “I got started doing this, cooking for the guys on the weekend. One weekend turned into another and another until it was 17 consecutive weekends.”
Davis began cooking at a New Orleans restaurant and at occasional festivals before starting his catering company 10 years ago. He has put his hands in more than just the seafood boiling pot. Davis is a music promoter who holds concerts and music festivals for up-and-coming bands he introduces to the public. The world of budding artists and his famous food has placed him in contact with some big names in the music business including Beyonce’s drummer Nikki Glaspie, Keith Richards and the Newell Brothers, an iconic music family in New Orleans.
Glaspie bragged on Davis’ food during a YouTube video taken at one of the nation’s largest music festivals, the Bonaru.
“I saw Shaggy and I had to stop because I know what was about to happen,” she said of his food in the video.
Davis travels throughout the nation for festivals from February through June when the crawfish season is good.
“I don’t cook frozen crawfish,” he insisted. “I never have, and I never will. They are live, and we cook them fresh.”
The rest of the year Davis focuses on cooking other dishes such as a Louisiana pig roast, lobster, and other seafood. Not to become stale from one genre of cuisine, Davis also cooks bar-be-que as the NOLA Cochan King in New Orleans. He started the New Orleans Crawfish Festival four years ago.
“You’d think they would have already had a crawfish festival in New Orleans,” he said.
While the business is “now more work than anything,” he said he still loves to cook and he enjoys great music.
“I’m fortunate to get lucky enough to do something I like to do,” he said. “I have a couple of daughters and they like doing what dad does. We’ll see what happens in the future.”