Chef John Folse to Prepare World’s Largest Gumbo at 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

Featured photo: The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl logo adorns the field at Independence Stadium in Shreveport. Photo downloaded from the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Facebook page.

The Walk-On’s Independence Bowl is probably not on most folks’s list of must-attend culinary events in Shreveport-Bossier. And that is understandable, since (admittedly delicious) corn dogs and nachos are likely the food items most closely associated with attending a college football bowl game. But the 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, which will kick-off at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27, will include one of the coolest-sounding food events that’s come to my attention in 10 years of writing about food and drink in Shreveport-Bossier.

A photo of Chef John Folse
Chef John Folse will attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the largest pot of gumbo ever cooked. The attempt will take place during the 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. Photo courtesy of

During the Coca-Cola Fan Fest taking place outside of Independence Stadium prior to kick-off, Chef John Folse, one of the best-known chefs and culinary personalities in Louisiana, will attempt to set the world record for the largest single pot of gumbo ever prepared. The Coca-Cola Fan Fest will take place, 9 a.m.-12 p.m., on the midway outside of Independence Stadium.

The gumbo is expected to weigh approximately 6,500 pounds and, from what I’ve heard, an enormous gumbo pot is being fabricated especially for the purpose of making it. My biggest question is how on earth anyone could stir a roux for a 6,500-pound gumbo. My arm gets tired stirring 16 ounces of roux.

“Chef John Folse and his gumbo will be the centerpiece of the Coca-Cola Fan Fest,” said Erik Evenson, director of media and community relations for the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. “We’ll be attempting to break the world record.”

The best part? After the gumbo has been certified as the world’s largest, the public can purchase bowls for $5 each. All proceeds will benefit the Fisher House Foundation, a not-for-profit that builds accommodations for veterans at military and VA medical centers around the world.

Everything about this is just incredibly cool and good for not only the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, but also Shreveport-Bossier as a whole. In the future, when someone asks me if it’s possible to get a good bowl of gumbo in Shreveport-Bossier (it is, for Pete’s sake, see Marilynn’s Place, Orlandeaux’s Cafe, Cajun & Creole Cafe, Herby-K’s and others), I can respond by citing the fact that Chef John Folse himself prepared the world’s largest pot of gumbo right here.

Hats off to the folks who put this together. It ought to make this year’s Walk-On’s Independence Bowl an unforgettable day. Tickets to the game are $30-$50 and are available now. Admission to the Coca-Cola Fan Fest is included with the purchase of Walk-On’s Independence Bowl tickets.

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