3-course interview: Rene Porche, chef and restaurateur_lowres (copy)

Rene Porche of Ma Momma's House of Cornbread, Chicken and Waffles won the Legume d'Or award at the 2018 Beans Madness competition. This year's Bean Madness kicks of Mar. 20 with 21 events throughout the city. 

Bean Madness, the NCAA basketball "March Madness"-styled red beans competition, returns this month.

Over three weeks, the competition will narrow 32 restaurants to a winner of the title of best red beans and rice.

Last year’s champion, New Orleans East restaurant Ma Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken and Waffles (5741 Crowder Blvd.), will defend its “Legume D’Or.” Also returning is Joey K’s, which was in the final four in the competition’s inaugural year in 2017 and and a finalist in 2018. Other competitors include Coquette, High Hat Cafe, El Pavo Real, Katie’s Restaurant & Bar and Bacchanal Wine. New competitors are Nini Nguyen, a contestant on this season of Top Chef, Gris Gris, Heard Dat Cafe and Marjie’s Grill.

The competition is run by the Krewe of Red Beans, the bean-wearing krewe that marches on Lundi Gras to the Backstreet Cultural Museum. The competition kicks off with a party and match on March 20 and continues with single-round elimination at 21 events over the following three weeks. Winners advance to the next round.

Those interested can sign up for $5 brackets to sample and vote in pop-up red beans taste tests. All of the proceeds go toward local nonprofits including Market Umbrella, Make Music NOLA, Anna’s Place, Sankofa, RIDE New Orleans the Southern Rep Theatre and KidsmART.

Last year the competition raised $8,000 for local charities after more than 3,600 people participated in the tournament.

For more information on the event, visit www.redbeansnola.com.