Catching Up with Chef David Crabtree | Video

By: TLP's Partners

David Crabtree is a seasoned culinary expert with a remarkable 45-years of experience in the restaurant industry. Currently serving as the executive chef at the Island View Casino in Gulfport, Mississippi, Crabtree has garnered numerous awards and recognition in both sanctioned and unsanctioned cooking competitions throughout his illustrious career. 

As a young child, Crabtree found inspiration in his grandmother’s love for cooking. He vividly remembers visiting her house at the age of five and being fascinated by her culinary creations. This early exposure to the world of food sparked a passion in him that would become a driving force in his life. Crabtree’s culinary journey truly began when he started working as a dishwasher on a Navy base. Although he couldn’t actively participate in cooking at the time, he observed and absorbed the techniques and skills from a distance.

It was at the Diamond Head Country Club where he got his first taste of hands-on experience, spending a decade honing his craft under the mentorship of Bill Purcell. Today as the executive chef at the Island View Casino, Crabtree oversees a diverse range of culinary offerings. From casual dining to fine dining, buffets, and even fast food, he has curated a menu that caters to all tastes and preferences. 

Chef David Crabtree Jumbo Lump Crabcake with Mango Sauce

From humble beginnings as a dishwasher to becoming an award-winning executive chef, his passion for cooking and determination to continuously improve have been the driving forces behind his success. Crabtree’s cooking reflects his rootedness in his Southern heritage and his dishes often feature elements of coastal and Southern cuisine, paying homage to his Mississippi hometown.

Crabtree shared his recipe for jumbo lump crab cakes with mango sauce at Mississippi Chef Jam during the 2023 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. To enhance the dish, he added a peach chutney and sweet potato straws, infusing elements of Southern and Georgia cuisine. 

Cook Like Chef David Crabtree

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Mango Sauce 

recipe heading-plus-icon


6 3-ounce crab cakes

    For the mango sauce:
  • 2 cups diced ripe mango
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla-flavored yogurt

  • For the crab cake:
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tupelo honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Crystal hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ¼ cup drained minced pimento
  • ¼ cup fresh, minced parsley
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 1-pound jumbo lump crab meat (preferably Gulf caught)
  • 1½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs
  • White pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Canola oil for searing

  • For the peach chutney:
  • 2 tablespoons diced bacon
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon smashed, minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar Bourbon flavored whiskey
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ⅛ cup tupelo honey
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups small-dice fresh peaches (canned also works)
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro

  • For the cilantro oil:
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup avocado oil

  • For the sweet potato straws:
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • Oil for frying
  1. Make the mango sauce: In an upright blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. Transfer to a container with an airtight lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the crab cakes: In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, honey, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Once fully combined, add pimento, parsley, cilantro, and season with white, red, and black pepper to taste. Fold in crab meat and Ritz cracker crumbs. Cover mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of skillet. Shape crab meat into 2 to 3-ounce patties. Add to the skillet and sear for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on opposite side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. Make the peach chutney: In a skillet, sweat bacon, onion, garlic, and ginger until fully cooked. Add bourbon and scrape to deglaze any frond from the bottom of pan. Stir in orange juice, vinegar, and honey. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer and cook until sauce is reduced and thickened. Add peaches and cook until warmed through. Fold in cilantro before removing from heat.
  5. Make the cilantro oil: In a small pot, bring 4 cups water and baking soda to a simmer and quickly blanch cilantro. Transfer cilantro to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and transfer cilantro to an upright blender with avocado oil. Puree and strain through a cheesecloth into a squeeze bottle.
  6. Make the sweet potato straw: Use a spiral mandolin to cut sweet potatoes and place in water for 10 minutes. Drain well and pat dry. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees and frye sweet potato pieces. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and curry powder.
  7. Assemble and serve: On a plate, add a layer of mango sauce and center a crab cake in the middle. Top with chutney and garnish with sweet potato straw. Dot cilantro oil around mango sauce.


Video and edits by: Ed Foose

Production by: Maggie Ward

Location: Kimpton Shane Hotel

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