The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce held a Gumbo Challenge in conjunction with the Cajun Heritage Festival on Saturday May 15. These two events went perfectly hand in hand, providing festival goers with a tasty treat to go along with the wonderful music and fun games. The proceeds from the Challenge will be creating a scholarship for a West Orange-Stark culinary student. Pat Geiss and some of her culinary students from West Orange-Stark High School were on hand selling a delicious gumbo of their own.

There were a few minor glitches when the wind took out a couple of tents that had been set up on Friday night, but after minor repairs and a bit of reorganizing the competition was underway. Five competitors; Lamar State College Orange, Baptist Orange Hospital, Bayou Metals, Faith United Methodist Men, and Noonie’s Cookers started working on their roux at 7 a.m.

Everything had to be prepared and cooked on site, with the exception of chopping vegetables. The Chefs were asked to prepare a combination gumbo of their choice.

The gumbo that was prepared by the contestants was delicious, which made the judging very difficult. After much deliberation and a tie for first place, the judges made their decision. Lamar State College-Orange was lead to victory by Butch Campbell and his “smart” gumbo recipe. The Bayou Girls from Bayou Metals and Chef Sheri Tregre took a close second place with their seafood gumbo. Third place was won by Chef Terry Gauthier of Baptist Orange Hospital. The First United Methodist Men, lead by Tim Schossow, stole the trophy for the best potato salad in the side competition.

Chamber of Commerce thanks all their participants and congratulates their winners.