By: Thomas Falgout, CEO of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce
Think you know everything about the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff? What about why it was formed, or what it takes to make it in the festival business? Thomas Falgout, CEO of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, gave us and our readers an insight into the yearly cookoff and what goes into planning such a large event and how that translates to make it successful. Read on to discover Iberia Parish's world of gumbo!
1) Why was the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff formed?
Gumbo was formed primarily as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce, to pay off the mortgage of the building on Main Street, as well as an opportunity for locals to display their gumbo cooking skills in a local competition of a regional favorite dish.
2) What can visitors expect when they attend?
When visitors attend our event they experience a true Cajun good time with lots of delicious food, live music by talented bands and plenty of opportunities to meet local business owners, politicians, and other neighbors.
3) What is something people may not realize about this cookoff compared to others?
With more than 70 teams participating year-to-year, the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff is not only the largest local event in the parish, but the largest gumbo cookoff in the world. We are also the only gumbo cookoff sponsored by the greatest pepper sauce in the world, TABASCO®!
4) What do you contribute the cookoff's success to?
The gumbo cookoff wouldn't be possible without our long-time legacy sponsor TABASCO®, as well as our presenting sponsor Savoie’s Sausage & Food Products. We also couldn’t make this event happen without support from the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, Louisiana Office of Tourism and our Roux Sponsors the Grow Louisiana Coalition, Musson Patout Automotive, Cypress Bayou Casino, Super1Foods and Cox . Our Gumbo Committee, the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce Board and a hundreds of local volunteers ensure that every year the event goes off without a hitch. I know I speak for the entire staff at the Chamber when I say how grateful we are for all of the investment the Iberia Parish community puts into Gumbo weekend.
5) How does the Chamber hope to see the festival grow in the future?
We hope to see the World Championship Gumbo CookOff continue to grow. By having tourist in our parish during gumbo cookoff is awesome for not just the event itself but for all of us in Iberia Parish. The benefits of this event generate lots of tax dollars through our hotels, local shops and restaurants giving our local economy a boost.
6) Who's performing this year?
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, The Bad Boys, Swampland Revival, Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, Nonc Nu & Da Wild Matous.
7) What is your personal favorite kind of gumbo?
I am a traditionalist. Chicken and sausage has always been my favorite. I also don’t mind shrimp and crab.
8) What’s your best gumbo cookoff memory?
My favorite memory from last year was the smell of all the rouxs being cooked early on Sunday morning. I loved seeing everyone with these big hot grey pots stirring and adding ingredients. It made me so happy and made me feel very proud to be from Acadiana, the best region in the world for gumbo.
Visit the festival World Championship Gumbo Cookoff's website for the most recent news and for schedule information.
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