Mother of all cook-offs this weekend in New Iberia

by Elizabeth Rose

The 23rd annual world championship gumbo cook-off is consuming New Iberia for an entire weekend. To get to the 23rd annual world championship gumbo cook-off, the New Iberia Convention and Visitors Bureau gives these directions:

Drive into Iberia Parish on Hwy 90 (future corridor i-49), Hwy 182, Hwy 31 or Hwy 14. Roll your window down - INHALE and follow your nose to downtown New Iberia. Aroma should get stronger as you get closer.

If that's not enough to convince you, maybe a rundown of the cook-off and surrounding events - plus a chance at meeting Troy and Jacob Landry of "Swamp People" - will do the trick.

The cook-off takes place in downtown New Iberia in Bouligny Plaza and kicks off Friday night with live music from 5th Avenue from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the live music continues all weekend. Bright and early, the Roux Run begins at 8 a.m. (register here), followed by a Food Fest at 10 a.m. where all attendees can taste anything but gumbo - jambalaya, bisque, rice dishes, fish and desserts. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Joel Martin Project will perform, followed by Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Chris Ardoin from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Troy and Jacob Landry will be available from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday to meet fans - but the website recommends arriving early to ensure a chance to visit.

The weekend culminates in the 96-team cook-off on Sunday. At 6 a.m., the Gumbo Police will patrol the stations to ensure all participants are following the "Gumbo Code of Ethics" which strictly limits the allowed ingredients. All participants must cook their roux on-site without electricity. Amateurs compete in the seafood, chicken and sausage, and mélange categories. Gumbo serving will begin at 11 a.m. Find your gumbo map here.

Music from Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie begins at 9:45 a.m. and ends with Wayne Toups from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cook-off winner will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

Entry to the cook-off is free and food and drinks are available for purchase.