For the 13th consecutive year, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana gathered some of the best chefs in New Orleans for their annual Got Gumbo Cook-off.

Sponsored by Shell Oil and the Royal Sonesta Hotel, the event recently attracted 600 hungry patrons who tasted and, in some cases, slurped their way around the Royal Sonesta’s Grand Ballroom.

Dozens of restaurants participated in-kind to support the United Way’s mission. Some establishments walked away with awards and honors as well the good feeling that comes with giving back to your community.

A panel of celebrity judges named Desire Oyster Bar & Bistro as Best Traditional Gumbo and Charlie’s Restaurant as Best Seafood Gumbo. Restaurant R’evolution took first place in the Most Exotic category.

After all ballots were counted, the following People’s Choice award-winners included: 8 Block Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency for Best Gumbo; Tulane University Dining won for Best Dessert; and Desire Oyster Bar & Bistro won Best Table Décor.

After the awards were presented, the biggest winners of all were the 136 health and human service programs of the area that directly benefit from the Got Gumbo event.

Terry Westerfield of the United Way said, “approximately $15,000 was generated from this single event. The Got Gumbo Cook-off is an affordable treat for many loyal patrons who already support the United Way of Southeast Louisiana through their workplace campaigns.”

United Way vice president Michael Williamson added: “This is a great event where all who attend and participate walk away with a full belly and a full heart.”

Got Gumbo is the brainchild of Gary Ostroske and Al Groos. Both community leaders were honored with their own silver-plated gumbo bowl engraved with thanks to the two special “Gumbo Godfathers” who have made it all possible.

For more information on the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, please visit

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