The Dick Berry Third Annual Vernon Parish Main Street Gumbo Cook-off


The name is a mouthful, but so was the gumbo.

The Louisiana Travelin’ Man was invited to judge another Gumbo Cook-off and I was happy to do it. By judging Gumbo Cook-offs, I can experience several things at one time. Obviously, I can taste several Louisiana Gumbos at one time, get to parts of Louisiana I haven’t been to in a long time, have great conversations with the locals and experience that destination.
Leesville is in Vernon Parish, which is in the Crossroads Region of Louisiana, and is home to Fort Polk. If you’re interested in fishing, hunting, boating or want to visit some unique museums, Vernon Parish is a great place to visit. Click here for more info on Vernon Parish. 
The Gumbo Cook-off was held in Historic Downtown Leesville and was organized by the City of Leesville “Main Street” organization and many of its volunteers.  There was also a 5K race that was held prior to the cook-off, a Mardi Gras parade after the cook-off and a jump castle for the kids to enjoy during the cook-off. The cook-off was small, but continues to grow. This year there were 14 participants in three categories. The three categories were: Chicken and Sausage (the most entries), Seafood and Wild Game.  There was also a prize for the best decorated area.  One of the rules that all cooks had to adhere to was they had to make their own roux, no roux in a jar at this cook-off! I got to taste 12 out of the 14 gumbos which were mostly good, and as expected, some were great. Here are the winners of each category:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo category
1st Place: Teri Gilland and Team “Colors for a Cure” DeQuincy (left)
2nd Place: Eric Gonzales and Team “Kajun Cooking, Leesville (right)

Seafood Gumbo category
1st Place: Phillip Landry, Leesville (right)
2nd Place: Team Byrd Hospital, Leesville (left)
Wild Game Gumbo category
1st Place: Patrick Anderson, Leesville (right)
2nd Place: James Taylor and Team Strutter (left)
Best Decorated
Willie Bergeron and Team Deux des Hommes Demi (Two and a Half Men) catering, Eunice
If you cook Gumbo and have always wanted to enter a Gumbo Cook-off, this is one to consider. It’s very casual and friendly and everyone there is out to have a good time. I would also suggest you enter the Wild Game Gumbo category as there weren’t many entries. What goes into a Wild Game Gumbo? Use your imagination.
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  The Louisiana Travelin' Man




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