By TIA CAROL JONES
People lined up early to get a taste of gumbo from four vendors at the first World’s Famous Gumbo Festival at Promontory on Sunday.
Mike “Orie” Mosley said he and his partner, Jared Bobo, created the event to bring a bit of New Orleans and Creole culture to the South Side.
Vendors included Original Soul Vegetarian, The Swill Inn, Two Fish and Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods. In addition to gumbo, there also was red beans and rice, white rice and beignets.
Two Fish won the first-place prize of $500.
Yasmin Curtis is the owner of Two Fish, 641 E. 47th St. They served a seafood gumbo, created by Lady Millhouse, who was the manager of the now-closed Park 52 restaurant.
“We collaborated to make sure we brought a good gumbo. We primarily serve New Orleans cuisine,” Curtis said.
Lori Seay, co-owner of Original Soul Vegetarian, 205 E. 75th St., brought a vegan gumbo. She said because she is a cook, it didn’t take her long to come up with the recipe.
“We wanted to offer the crowd a healthier option, so they could eat the same thing minus the seafood and not miss the taste,” Seay said.
Azazi Morsi, chef de cuisine at Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods, 1415 N. Wood St., served a seafood gumbo, with chicken, smoked andouille sausage, crawfish, shrimp, crab and okra. The restaurant, headed by New Orleans native chef Brian Jupiter, saw the opportunity to introduce itself to people on the South Side.
“It’s a new Creole restaurant and we want to just kind of expand ourselves,” Morsi said.
Tiffany Conwell said the vegetarian gumbo was her favorite. “It was a little bit more flavorful,” she said.
Vanessa Johnson said she was ecstatic about the event.
“I’m happy that somebody brought it here. Everybody loves Louisiana cooking,” she said. “And, I think the cost to get in was fair, too.”
All the vendors agreed the roux is what makes a good gumbo. Morsi said a dark roux is the key. “If you don’t know how to make that dark roux, your gumbo’s not going to taste right. And, cajun seasoning,” Morsi said.
Curtis said time, patience and fresh ingredients make a good gumbo. “And, love. There’s nothing that makes anything great without love,” Curtis said. “In order to make gumbo, you have to have time and patience and love. I believe that’s what Lady Millhouse puts in here.”