World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off

New Iberia, LA

October 2008 marked the 19th Annual World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off, an event that seems to overtake the entirety of downtown New Iberia, infusing it with the celestial aromas of simmering stocks and toasty rouxs. Contestants may enter the competition as amateur or professional cooks, and their gumbos may spar in one of three categories: chicken and sausage, seafood, or mélange (rabbit and turkey gumbos, for example, fit into the latter category). The challenge for all competitors is to produce both roux and stock onsite the morning of the event, beginning when a canon sounds at 6:30 am, and to finish cooking by the time customers come knocking at 11 am. There’s no time for burning your roux; no room for any error at all. All of our 2008 interviewees cited “fun” as the primary reason they became involved with such an impossible contest, which demonstrates why the Cajuns are some of our favorite people.

Date of interview:

October 12, 2008


Sara Roahen

Well I think an advantage that we have is we play traditional Cajun-French music all day for our gumbo, and I think that adds a flavor that’s not in the recipe.

Basically I start with a homemade roux, and it’s a little bit of luck. If you hit it right you hit it right.

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