Natchezians fill up on hot turkey gumbo

Published 12:14 am Saturday, November 26, 2011


NATCHEZ — Chef Bingo Starr and Red Owens know gumbo.

The partners in crime handed out a twist on a traditional style farmer’s gumbo at the third annual Turkey Gumbo Cook-Off Friday evening.

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Instead of using the traditional smoked ham shanks and chicken used in farmers gumbo, the duo used the leftover smoked turkey wings and turkey gravy from the Carriage House Restaurant, where Starr is the head chef.

“(Regina Charboneau) makes me come out every year,” Starr said. “She brought me to this town and showed me the restaurant, so whatever she tells me to do, I do it.”

The gumbo featured fresh purple hull peas, turnip greens, okra and a few other secret ingredients.

“We just try and be in everything they put on,” Owens said. “All these cook-offs are starting to gain interest and larger crowds.”

Christmas in Natchez Committee member Charboneau filled in for other contestants who couldn’t make this year’s cook-off.

“The LSU game kind of got us this year,” Charboneau said. “It was just hard to get gumbo cookers to compete with the game.”

While the game hindered this year’s turnout, Charboneau said they have big plans for next year’s cook-off.

“I’ve been looking around at other cook-offs and seeing how they do things,” Charboneau said.

The biggest change will be that competitors must cook on site the day of the event.

“I think it will just mix things up a bit,” Charboneau said.

Owens said the new rules won’t stop them from competing.

“It won’t bother us,” Owens said.

“We’ve got the pots and the burners so we’ll do it. No problem.”

Debbie Hudson and Melanie Tripp stood in for Cathedral High School Principal Pat Sanguinetti, who traveled to watch Cathedral take on Noxapater for the South State Title.

“He’s from a big family and so they always have a big family dinner every year,” Hudson said. “He uses the leftovers to make his gumbo.”

Hudson and Tripp said Sanguinetti participates in the cook-off every year.

The low number of participants resulted in a three-way tie.

The $200 prize will be donated back to the Christmas in Natchez fund.