A good meal is known to bring people from all walks of life together, whether they be strangers or friends. In Louisiana, Creole/Cajun Chef John Folse knows all too well how to entice guests with a tasty offering, so he put his culinary skills to the test in a big way last week in support of Fisher House. And he succeeded all while breaking a world record.
Folse pulled together a team of 36 chefs to partner with Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the largest pot of seafood gumbo. The event was aimed at raising money in support of Fisher House, a foundation that builds comfort homes where military & veterans’ families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital, according to its website. The organization has served over 335,000 families since 1990.
The chef’s team explained that the behind the scenes process was no small feat. After all, making over 6,000 pounds of gumbo takes serious manpower, hard work and a miracle. Planning for this world record winning preparation took a whopping six months with partners like Capitol City produce, Reinhart Food distribution, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood promotion to get the job done. These brands came together and jumped at the opportunity to donate key ingredients to accomplish a gumbo of this magnitude.
How much does it take to create a 6,500-pound pot of gumbo?
Chef Mike Turner was among those who assisted Folse in making the winning gumbo come together. He shared that making a pot this large took a shockingly large amount of meat and produce. Some of the ingredient amounts were as follows:
. 1000 lbs. of shrimp
· 600 lbs. of catfish
· 250 lbs. of crab meat
· 265 lbs. of alligator meat
· 300 lbs. of onions
· 250 lbs. of okra
· 200 lbs. of sausage
Additionally, it included 260 lbs. of darkened roux along with other items such as seafood stock, tomatoes, spices etc. A gumbo this large could not have been possible without an insanely large pot to cook it in. Chef Folse documents the delivery of the 1,000 pound stainless steel gumbo pot used in the event on his Instagram. He credits John and Rebecca Evans (Mouk) of Ascension Roofing and Fabrication for donating this master piece.
The gumbo preparation team shared what it means to accomplish something of this magnitude not only for himself and his team but for Fisher House Foundation. They also answered the question on everyone’s mind: Why gumbo?
Q: Gumbo for a cause: What does it mean for you to be able to team up with Walk-On’s and do this event for Fisher House and military families?
We were first introduced to the Fisher House by one of our Franchisees Mark “Ranger” Jones. While opening our San Antonio location, we were invited to tour The Fisher House located near Ft. Sam Houston. We spent several hours with the staff and residence and were thrilled to offer them a taste of Louisiana. We are honored to support the families of veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.
Q: Tell us about Chef Folse’s culinary career and famous gumbo. Why is gumbo so important to you and Cajun/Creole culture?
Chef John Folse is a true legend in the culinary world and an icon in Louisiana. I was first introduced to Chef Folse about 5 years ago at his award- winning restaurant, Revolution, located in the French Quarter. The service, ambiance and amazing food inspired me to be a better chef and Culinarian. At Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar we are committed to offering delicious, memorable and crave able food while creating memory inducing moments that remind our guests of that familiar taste of La. Gumbo is a thick stew like dish that includes many ingredients such as okra, tomatoes, onions, and one or several meats and shelf fish such as chicken, sausage, ham, shrimp, crab or oysters. All of us grew up eating gumbo and we are excited to share this small piece of our culture with the rest of America -Chef Mike Turner.
Q: For the beginner gumbo maker and home chef, what is your best piece of advice for making a successful pot at home?
A great gumbo starts with the roux. For a traditional Louisiana gumbo, we recommend using a dark brown roux. The fuller flavored brown roux is made with butter and sometimes thickened with flour and additional drippings from pork, or beef for enhanced flavor. It is cooked to a deep golden brown and has the distinguished nuttiness flavor that is critical for a traditional Louisiana gumbo.
Speaking of home chefs, did you know that Chef Folse’s gumbo can be recreated at home?
Whether from scratch with the world-famous recipe or one of his premade frozen gumbo bags, you can create this meal for you and your family.
Last month, I had the pleasure of making this at my home in Fort Leonard Wood and it did not disappoint. With creole roots myself, I understand why gumbo was chosen to do good and break the world record in honor of Fisher House. It symbolizes so much more than food. Gumbo symbolizes many ingredients that taste great alone, coming together to make something amazing. Oddly enough, this symbolism reminds me much of Chef Folse’s team of 36 chefs and local businesses that pulled together to make history happen for our military community.Read comments