MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - A taste of New Orleans came to Manitou Springs on Saturday as chefs competed in the 19th annual Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-off.
11 amateur chefs and five professional teams lined the Soda Springs Park pavilion to compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in their respective categories.
Gus Bootle, a personal chef from New Orleans, said he just returned to Colorado from Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans.
"I've got a secret blend of creole spices," Bootle said.
Brian Walzel, another chef competing in the amateur category, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that his team started cooking around 6:45 a.m. Walzel said that duck meat made his gumbo unique.
"Duck just seemed like a good fit for this gumbo and this competition," Walzel said.
Crowds of people started filling the park around 10:30 a.m. A panel of judges picked the winners, while the public tasted each gumbo to select their favorite for the "People's Choice Award."
Glenn Leblanc of Springs Orleans was voted best among the professionals, with Milo's Pizza and Po Boys from Boulder, and TAPAteria following behind for 2nd and 3rd places.
Gus Bootle was awarded 2nd place, and Chris Meyer, "Truck Load Gumbo" of Colorado Springs ranked 3rd in the amateur division.
Brian Walzel of Centennial took top honors in amateur division.
"It's very flattering," Walzel told KRDO NewsChannel 13 after the announcement. "I'm glad that they (the judges) enjoyed themselves and happy to Manitou Springs for having us today."
The People's Choice Award was presented to Cindy and Steve Maniscalco and the Showmanship Award went to Chris Meyer.
The Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-off is sponsored by iManitou (the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau & Office of Economic Development) and Springs Orleans.