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'Best in Chow' settling ‘Gumbo Wars New Orleans’ on Cooking Channel

Cris Nannarone searches for the Best in Chow gumbo in New Orleans
Cris Nannarone searches for the Best in Chow gumbo in New Orleans
"Photo courtesy of Cooking Channel, used with permission."

On tonight’s Cooking Channel new season episode of “Best in Chow” host Cris Nannarone went to Louisiana. Cris took his fun personality and love for people to search for the best gumbo in New Orleans.

Although Cris was not completely sure what gumbo was, he was willing to put on a few pounds to find out. In the French Quarter, he met up with several people who had their own opinion of where he could find the best gumbo.

Cris met up with musician Davis Rogan, who is a big gumbo enthusiast. He affirmed that both Restaurant R’evolution and Dooky Chase were the best in NOLA. John Folse at R’evolution makes the best Cajun high-end gumbo, while at Dooky Chase, Leah Chase is a woman who came up through the restaurants in New Orleans, and taught herself how to cook. The word gumbo originated from West African dialects common in 18th century Louisiana. Because gumbo can be found on every corner of New Orleans, Cris was amazed that only two chefs rose to the top of the gumbo food chain. Cris was going to pit the two gumbo masters against each other and see who has the best gumbo in New Orleans.

Several people told him to go to Restaurant R’evolution to taste their Death by Gumbo. So Cris got the education from the master, John Folse. Cris was not ashamed to ask questions, and learned what a roux was; a thickening agent consisting of oil and flour. When the roux was thickened, he put the mirapoix in the pot; a mixture of chopped celery, onions and mixed bell peppers. His gumbo contained lots of meats, including raccoon, which Cris tasted and was surprised that he liked. When it was done, he was thrilled with the taste of the finished product. It contained; roux, onions, celery, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, chopped garlic, chicken stock, andouille sausage, quail, granulated garlic, gulf oyster, rice stuffing, strained gumbo gravy and gumbo file.

The second place he was sent to was Dooky Chase, where he met Leah Chase, who told him that the pot she was cooking, was the best gumbo he will ever taste. Inside the pot were; crab, gizzards, pork sausage, chopped veal, and hot sausage. Cris asked her, how long she has been in the kitchen, and he almost fell over when she told him 68 years. She was a pistol, and Cris was amused by her snappy answers. When she put ham stock in the gumbo, Cris said he did not know you could get stock from ham, she told him if you boil it long enough, you can! Her gumbo contained; blue crab, veal, chicken gizzards, hot chaurice sausage, smoked pork sausage, smoked ham, boneless chicken, shrimp, yellow onions, green bell peppers, celery, chicken stock, ham stock, seafood stock, chopped garlic, roux, parsley and gumbo file.

Now Cris went to find New Orleans natives who served as judges. They went to both places and were mesmerized by the taste, but they had to vote. The winner was John Folse of R’evolution, but he stated that he had to share the trophy, because everything he knows, he learned from Leah on this episode of “Best in Chow.”

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