So, after the Breaux Bridge festival, friends told me the Arnaudville festival was really fun and shall we say, didn’t have a predictable outcome. It was anyone’s game and people from out of town were known to win there often. So, Stan’s friend Mike asked if he could cook Stan’s recipe in it the following year. This was 2011. No problem. Stan was good with that. Apparently, Mike changed up a couple of things to make it his own. He’s not talking, but I think he used real crawfish fat, which was Stan’s whole mission to avoid.
Well, Mike got second place (Go Mike!) Here’s where it gets fuzzy for me….Stan just does not enjoy these cooking contests. OK. That’s cool. This year I get the email that his friend George and I are registered to cook in the Arnaudville contest. Hmmmmm. Sounds like fun, but where did this come from? Well, I haven’t told you about deer camp. I don’t know about deer camp first hand, but this is my theory. Mike, Stan and George are all hanging out at deer camp last year. George says, “Stan, you gonna let Mike take second place in a cooking contest? And he changed your recipe? You KNOW you could win first place.” There may have been some beer there. I’m not sure. I’m thinking that’s how George and I got registered to cook.
So, Mike and his son Jake have already started cooking by the time we got to Arnaudville. They each have matching magnalite pots they had won at prior rabbit cook-offs, but I am not intimidated. Jake is working on rabbit and venison etouffee. (And it was delicious) Mike has started his crawfish etouffee. Stan and George are discussing our plan of attack. I’m still trying to figure out twitter.
Well we had fun, and all went smoothly with the preparation. The mood was relaxed and casual. There may have been some beer there. I’m not sure. Now for the judging….Third place: Mike Taylor! (Phew) Second place: Stan Gauthier! What? Stan was hoping for anonymity and they were supposed to call George or me, but not him. Well he looked at me with the “you go get it” look and I said, “You are SO going up there with me!” He did and the trophy is lovely and hanging in the Calamondin Cafe kitchen. I wanted Stan to take it, but he said it would just sit in a drawer. Well in all the excitement we missed who placed first, which turned out to be the best part. They had other categories to award. Jake got second place in the game etouffee category.
So after all the awards had been given out, this nice young man comes up to Stan. Stan does a double take. Waylon DeVillier! Waylon had his first place trophy, and here’s the back story. Remember Stan used to run his own cajun food company? Well, Waylon’s Dad used to work for Stan and the two of them entered every cooking contest there was. Waylon had never entered any of the contests before, and he decided he wanted to cook. His Dad said, “Son, use this recipe. Stan and I always won first or second with it.” Yep. Stan’s old recipe using the crawfish fat! So, I had to taste it. It was delicious; I like his new version even better. But I thought that was justice. Stan’s recipes won first, second, and third. Now that’s Cajun Cookin’. Am I cooking next year? You bet I am. I’m thinking Trout Calamondine for the seafood entry and Calamondin Cabbage for the vegetable entry. Let’s see if the Arnaudville judges like Calamondin Cajun Cookin’.