The Northwest Louisiana Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators, a new fundraiser benefiting Volunteers for Youth Justice, will debut in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza this Saturday, March 9, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The inaugural festival will feature 28 teams and 32 pots of gumbo vying for cash prizes (and, more importantly, bragging rights) in the categories of seafood gumbo, non-seafood gumbo and people’s choice award. Admission to the event is free, but guests are encouraged to bring some spending cash. Tasting-sized samples of each gumbo will be available for $1, bowls will cost $4. Judges include former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, Killin’ n’ Grillin’ star Randal Reeder, restaurateurs Gerald Savoie and Orlando Chapman, and radio personality Erin McCarty. All of the money collected during the event will be be donated to Volunteers for Youth Justice.
Event organizer Angie White says that the event came about because Volunteers for Youth Justice was seeking a new, different kind of fundraising event. “We needed something with mass appeal,” White said. “And what that means, to me, is food. When you look at the landscape of food-focused events in Shreveport Bossier, the huge, glaring void is a gumbo cook-off.”
One gumbo team is traveling from Arizona to compete, another is driving up from Eunice, La. A few well-known local chefs and restaurants are also participating, including Michael OBoyle of Gulf Pig Underground Dinner Club, Carolyn Manning of Carolyn’s Catering, and Tina Palmisano from Ernest’s Orleans.
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