Want the recipe for the perfect college football Saturday?
You'll need 750 pounds of shrimp, 450 pounds of catfish and 200 pounds of alligator. Having the top two teams in the country doesn’t hurt either.
This weekend Tuscaloosa will be rocking as top-ranked LSU takes on No. 2 Alabama, but there will be plenty of action outside Bryant-Denny Stadium as well. The Guinness World Record for largest seafood gumbo will be set with the proceeds from the event going to victims of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through the area back in April.
Famed New Orleans chef John Folse spearheaded the idea and has labeled it the "Gumbo Bowl."
"We wanted to do something, but the worst time to try is right afterwards during the chaos," Folse says. "We looked ahead and thought it might work out while this great rivalry is meeting on the football field."
Folse enlisted the help of former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Bob Baumhower, a long-time friend through the restaurant business that the chef says, "has the key to the door marked 'Alabama.'" Baumhower's restaurants were spared, but some members of his staff weren't as lucky, so he jumped at the chance to help out.
"It's one of those things that unless you see it, it's hard to relate to," Baumhower says. "The damage was intense and complete. It's going to be something that those folks are going to have to deal with emotionally for a long time."
The healing will continue on Saturday, where Folse and Baumhower hope to raise $50,000 for Nick's Kids Fund and Caring Days Adult Day Care. But to do that, they're going to have to cook up a lot of gumbo. About two tons.
On top of the massive amounts of shrimp, catfish and alligator, they'll use 150 pounds of crab and 25 pounds of crawfish. The gumbo will also require nearly 600 pounds of onions, celery, green bell peppers, okra, garlic and butter. It's a Folse family recipe.
To help cook the massive stew, Baumhower has enlisted the help of the executive chef of his restaurant group, Steve Zucker. Folse has tapped his partner in a new Big Easy property Restaurant R'evolution, Rick Tramonto.
"Rick's a New York boy coming to the swamps of Louisiana," Folse says.
"It'll be great that he's starting off his first gumbo with two tons."
The 10,000 portions will be cooked in a 300 year-old cast iron kettle that Folse has used to set Guinness World Records for Swiss fondue and macaroni and cheese. The vessel is eight feet wide and four feet deep. And Folse isn't even planning on filling it up all the way.
"My kettle can hold another six or seven hundred pounds," he says. "We're going to leave a little room so we can keep breaking the record every year."
Folse would like to see this event go back and forth between the two schools and benefit some New Orleans causes next year.
The game on Saturday is sold out, with tickets going for five or six times their face value, and although you might not be able to get into the game, you can get in on the gumbo. Tickets are still available online. Donations will also be accepted there for those who can't make it.
Both Folse and Baumhower are predicting a huge success on Saturday. Their opinions on the outcome of the game are not so in line though.
"It won't be a high scoring affair with both defenses playing the way they are," Baumhower says. "24-17 Alabama."
Chef Folse doesn't have a particular number in mind, but he's picking his Tigers.
"We're certainly hoping that at the end of the day we have at least one more point on the board than they do," Folse says.
The only guaranteed winners will be holding a plastic spoon and empty bowl.
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