Past favorite wins cook-off

Saturday, Nov. 6 at noon, cooks from around the region came to compete in Southeastern’s annual Game Day Gumbo Cook-Off. This event was part of the tailgating celebrations for the final home football game of the 2010 season. Six teams at various gumbo stations competed in the five-hour pre-game competition, many cooking with recipes that have been handed down in their families for generations.

The purpose of the event was to raise money for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the organization that is designed to provide insight to the world of student-athletes. The event has been so popular in the past that it has now become the annual fundraiser for SAAC. All people were invited to join in the taste testing for a one-dollar fee to be donated at their favorite gumbo station.

Southeastern’s 2010 Homecoming Queen and senior marketing major Jenée Ratelle, Cindy Shelton, marketing president of Hancock Bank, and District Attorney Scott Perrilloux made up the three judge panel which came to a prompt conclusion after tasting the competitors’ fair. Gumbo station number one, a past favorite, was the hands-down winner.

“The roux! It had a great roux, the chicken was nice and tender and a good sausage selection. It was a winner!,” said Shelton about the winning gumbo after the ballots had been cast.

The Southeastern Gumbo Cook-Off awarded the winner of the day’s events with a miniature paddle and placard.

The award went to Marion Chandler’s four-person team. Also on board the winning team were Marion’s husband, Sonny Chandler and Shirley and Lewis Wigington of Hammond. Chandler has been cooking for an estimated 60 years and her experience was apparent, as her team has now won the competition for 3 years in a row.

Chandler’s team cooked a thick chicken and andouille gumbo, but unlike most competitors, decided against rice so that the focus would be purely upon their gumbo’s merits. Chandler made it clear that besides the normal ingredients, her secret was cooking the cuisine with tender love and care.

All four members of the winning team attended classes at Southeastern, but then went on to pursue degrees elsewhere.

“We do this project of cooking to support our Lions,” said Marion Chandler. When asked about the game, set to take place in a few hours, Chandler replied, “We want a win, just a win.”