Yesterday’s second annual Gumbo Cookoff to benefit Chefs for the Marcellus brought in a vast array of gumbo from traditional to unusual, with a bit of ethnic flair thrown in for good measure. A baker’s dozen of chefs brought their best N’Orleans fare to tempt the spice buds of all in attendance.
Among the more unusual gumbo recipes was Michelle Lamorte’s Gumbo Choux, a cabbage gumbo she recreated from a 1901 Times Picayune Cookbook recipe; Mary Cleaver’s Green Gumbo with turnips and fried oysters; and Exchange Alley’s Paul Girard with Pigeon Gumbo (the pigeons were sourced from D’Artagnan… we asked!).
Two brewers represented, as well. Ron Carlson of Horsehead Brewing brought his Hot-Jala-Heim Beer With Bite, a habanero-infused brew, which he paired with a traditional shrimp, chicken and andouille gumbo. Empire Brewing’s David “DKat” Katleski brought the brewer’s proprietary Big Easy Gumbo™. Adrian Ashby, William Gadol, Jimmy’s No. 43 and Dave Miss all contributed traditional gumbos with varying degrees of spice.
In the end, the awards went to:
- The “Jackson Pollack” award for most interesting gumbo went to International Wing Factory’s Deepak Ballaney, who put a middle eastern/African spin on his Sindhi Kadi (Sindhi is a region in India; Kadi is “curry”) with chicken wings and okra cracklings.
- The “Do It Yourself” gumbo went to Tim Trombley of Oyster/Almond Restaurants with his “Pig’s Head Gumbo,” a gumbo made from pig’s head broth and a homemade andouille-like sausage made up of shrimp, pork, and crawfish.
- First place went to Simon Glenn of Tchoup Shop with a duck, andouille and okra gumbo that included Chaurice sausage for spice and garnished with duck cracklings and mini biscuits to sop up all that goodness.
- Second place went to Dave Katalski’s Big Easy Gumbo™.
- First place went to Jon Bratton, whose NY Hot Sauce provided the base and just enough “umph” to make the judges want to come back for seconds for his “Redneck Coonass Gumbo,” a traditional shrimp and okra recipe adapted from Jon’s Louisiana mama and West Texas daddy.
- Second place went to Tchoup Shop’s Simon Glenn.
- Third place went to Dave Katalski’s Big Easy Gumbo™.
Thanks to all in attendance, and especially this year’s judges: Will Blunt, Rozanne Gold, Cathy Erway, and Richard Stein.