The fifth time was the charm for the Cast Iron Kings, who took the top prize at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge United Way Jambalaya Cook-off.
The four-man team of Randy Tadlock, Trevor Holmes, Mike Galloway and Shane Corban were among 60 teams competing in the 25th annual event on Aug. 22 at the Baton Rouge refinery.
“Trevor Holmes and I have been cook ing small jambalayas for about 10 years, but the first time we cooked a large jambalaya was five years ago at the ExxonMobil Cook-off. We have been improving every year and this is the first time we placed,” Tadlock said.
“Our team is called the Cast Iron Kings, and over the past few years we have also cooked in the Watson’s Annual Bird & Sausage Gumbo Cook-off for wounded warriors,” Tadlock added.
Placing second was The Green Team, made up of four employees who are part of the ExxonMobil environmental team. Despite the team’s name, they were definitely making “a carnivore’s jambalaya, not a veggie jambalaya,” team member Robert Berg, of Baton Rouge, assured a visitor. Other team members were Ken Holmes, of St. Francisville; Lynn Soileau, of French Settlement; and Katelyn Masone, of Baton Rouge.
Masone, an environmental engineer originally from New York, said this is the third year she’s been on The Green Team.
“I had never heard of jambalaya or boudin until I began working here. I was put on the team two weeks after I got here,” she said.
Both the first- and second-place teams will represent ExxonMobil at the 27th annual Jambalaya Jam, benefiting Capital Area United way, on Oct. 9.
The 60 cooking teams participating in the company’s Aug. 22 event made jambalaya for more than 3,000 ExxonMobil employees, retirees and friends, company officials said. Each team was required to cook at least 30 pounds of meat (chicken, pork and sausage) and 15 pounds of rice. Some, like the “Where’s Roy?” team, which finished in sixth place, elected to cook more. Cook Ron Aime, Mandy Graham and Lindsay Malik — fourth member, Roy Aron, was working the night shift — used 20 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of meat.
Last year, the Baton Rouge Area employee, union and retiree campaign, combined with the company’s corporate gift to the Capital Area United Way totaled nearly $1.5 million, a news release said. The goal this year is to match the 2013 donation. Employees also used the Aug. 22 event as a food drive for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.
Among the teams also placing in the jambalaya cook-off were: Timothy Soileau and Paul Taylor, third; Mark King, Brandt Patin, Albert Netterville and Keith Devall, fourth; and fifth, Bo Morman, Greg Kent and Gary Foster.