24 teams compete in 6th annual Taster’s Choice

Mardi Gras revelers have their photo taken at the Eunice Community Health Center’s sixth annual Taster’s Choice event Wednesday at LSUE. More than 400 people attended this year’s event, and more than $10,000 was raised. (Photo by Claudette Olivier)

By Claudette Olivier Staff Reporter

It’s Mardi Gras time, and a twist on traditional king cake took the top prize at the Eunice Community Health Center’s sixth annual Taster’s Choice event Wednesday at LSUE.
Jacob Bergeron, a taster from Eunice, said, “The boudin king cake was good. It’s first time I’ve ever had it. I like the sweet and salty taste combination. The mayor’s crawfish etouffee was seasoned well, and the sauce mixed well with the rice.”
The event is the kickoff to the Eunice Mardi Gras celebrations, and the cooking competition is also the biggest fundraiser for the clinic. More than 400 people attended this year’s event, and more than $10,000 was raised.
Twenty-four cooking teams prepared 29 dishes for the event, including tamales, jambalaya, gumbos, deer chili, pineapple cake and mini brownie cupcakes.
In the professional entree category, first place went to Coushatta Casino Resort with boudin king cake; second, Zeus with a chicken wrap; and third, Alon Manger with Cajun Tators. In the amateur entree category, first place went to Scott for Mayor with crawfish etouffee; second, United Pentecostal Church with wild pig sauce piquant; and third, Dr. Jevin Bordelon with potato soup. Coushatta Casino Resort was the only competitor in the professional dessert category, and the casino took first place with a cream cheese king cake.
In the amateur dessert category, first place went to Tiger Den from Eunice with fig cake; second, VFW Post #8971 with pineapple cake; and third went to BMS Project Services with mini brownie cupcakes.
Peoples Choice Awards were as follows: best entree, Coushatta Casino Resort with boudin king cake; best seafood, Krewe de Duralde with shrimp fettuccine; best wild game, United Pentecostal Church with wild pig sauce piquant; and best desert, BMS Project Services with mini brownie cupcakes.
The event also featured live and silent auctions and live music by Geno Delafose.
Chef Wayne Wimberly with Mudbugs Cajun Catering in Eunice was competing in the event for the first time with an entree of deer and sausage in brown gravy
“A friend who works at the clinic asked me to cook and help raise money for clinic,” Wimberly said. “It’s my recipe. I can’t tell you what’s in it. I just cook it.
Wimberly said he plans to compete again next year.
Rocky Fontenot with Rocky’s Cajun Kitchen in Eunice has competed in the event every year, and this year, he and his team prepared a seafood dressing with shrimp, crawfish, oysters, crabmeat, covered with etouffee and seasoned with Rocky’s spices.
“This is our first year making this dish,” Fontenot said. “I’ve never cooked this dish before. I thought we’d try something different with Lent coming up.”
Tasters Rosalyn and Emerson Baty of Mamou were attending the event for the second time.
“We wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Rosalyn said. The mayor’s crawfish etouffee was so rich and creamy. It was just right.”
“After the first one, will never miss one,” Emerson said. “The duck gumbo was very good.”
Yancy Fontenot, the center’s executive director, was pleased with the event’s turnout.
“It was great, beautiful,” she said. “It was a wonderful success.”

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