It may be said that there is nothing new under the sun, but at Gator By the Bay we beg to differ! This year, there is something new “under the tent” at the Taste of Lousiana pavilion! For the first time ever, seven local chefs specializing in Cajun and Creole cuisine will throw down for top honors in the Gator Gumbo Cookoff, happening as part of the much-acclaimed music and food festival on Saturday, May 11 at 11:15 AM.

The seven contestants will include:

  • Quinnton Austin, executive chef at Louisiana Purchase, San Diego’s newest go-to restaurant for authentic Louisiana cuisine. Located in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, Louisiana Purchase was inspired by the charm and character of New Orleans. Chef Austin, who will be entering his duck and spicy smoked sausage gumbo in the competition, recently relocated to San Diego from New Orleans, bringing with him an exciting wealth of knowledge and experience in the culinary melting pot that defines southern cuisine.
  • Pamela Jones, chef/owner of Pamela’s Kitchen Table, where recipes that have been in her family for generations imbue the food served there with authentic Southern and Cajun flavor. Chef Pamela will be showcasing a roux-less gumbo, certain to please anyone who adheres to a gluten-free diet.
  • Pete & Pam Terrebone, chef/ owners of LouZiana Food, known for bringing the taste of South Louisiana family recipes to their restaurant on Miramar Rd, and on the road with the LouZiana Food Truck. Their Roasted Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, a top seller at the restaurant, features a dark mahogany roux, the “holy trinity” of onions, carrots and celery, housemade chicken stock, roasted chicken, and the sausage, imported directly from Louisiana.
  • Smitty’s Taste of the Bayou owner Gujuan “Smitty” Smith, who will be competing with his Seafood Gumbo with Andouille Sausage and Okra. Smith earned his culinary chops while serving in the US Navy, and opened his North Park restaurant to bring his love of Cajun/Creole cuisine to show San Diego that “Th Bayou is a lot closer to home than you think.”
  • Calvin Alexander the “Chef C” in Chef C’s Smhokin Pot, a family owned and operated catering company coming all the way from Gardena, CA. Specializing in authentic Cajun cuisine, the Smhokin Pot is always a favorite at many SoCal festivals, and in addition to competing in the Gumbo Cookoff,  will be serving up deliciousness at their booth in the French Quarter Food Court at Gator By the Bay.
  • Richard Taylor, chef/owner of L.A.’s The Gumbo Pot. Taylor’s family roots extend back to Louisiana, from where his grandparents emigrated to California in the 1920s. Drawing on that tradition, he’ll be entering what he calls “My Grandma’s Gumbo” which he laughingly claims has everything in it except for the kitchen sink. “You name it it’s in it—fish, crab, shrimp, chicken, sausage—the works!” The Gumbo Pot will also be dishing out Louisiana cuisine favorites at their booth in the French Quarter Food Court
  • Charles Selvage of Selvages Creole Cuisine Catering.  Charles was born in Baton Rouge, La, but moved to San Diego when he was 10 years old. Every summer he would go back to Louisiana to visit family and enjoy the gumbo parties that were favorite social activities.  Soon, he was learning to make genuine Creole food, and gumbo has always figured front and center in his repertoire.

In addition to bragging rights and a blue ribbon to display, the winner of the Gator Gumbo Cookoff will receive a basket of goodies from Cajun Power Sauce, a family owned company in Abbeville, La who have been producing quality authentic Cajun gourmet sauces and products for over 29 years.

Cookoff audience members will get to taste free gumbo samples from all the contestants, so be sure to come early, grab your seat and get you some gumbo!!