When Jeremy Couvillion was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, his friends helped in the best way they knew how — by throwing a big benefit tailgating party.
"My friends were asking how they could help, and I said, 'Don't do anything.' I didn't want to be the center of attention," Couvillion said. "But they told me, 'Like it or not, we're doing this benefit for you.' "
Clash of the Cooks, a nonprofit fundraising food competition, was born.
Couvillion was the primary beneficiary of last year's inaugural jambalaya showdown in Baton Rouge. Proceeds helped alleviate ongoing medical expenses for Couvillion and other families battling cancer.
"There are so many costs associated with battling cancer that are astronomical and others that you don't even think about," Couvillion said. "You've got traveling costs, eating, parking garages ... all these hidden costs. It was great help to my family. I'm glad we can help other families, too."
This year, Couvillion is on the planning side of the event, which returns at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the 403 Nicholson lot at LSU on South Quad Drive.
Clash of the Cooks will feature more than 20 teams preparing their best versions of jambalaya. Expect groups of friends and even a few pros serving different takes on the Cajun treat.
"It's like the biggest tailgating party you ever went to," Couvillion said. "We've got a live band, sno-balls for the kids and 20 different pots of jambalaya."
This year's primary beneficiary is Cassie Sheehan, a mother of two and first-grade teacher at Port Allen Elementary who is battling leukemia. Sheehan receives chemotherapy treatments monthly but needs a bone marrow transplant.
"(Sheehan has) been going through difficult health concerns over the last few months," Couvillion said. "We want her to stay focused on her health and getting better."
CLASH OF THE COOKS
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: LSU Parking Lot 403 Nicholson at South Quad Drive, Baton Rouge