Mardi Gras Cook-Off Underway with Coral Springs Police and Fire

Mardi Gras Cook off

Coral Springs Deputy Police Chief Shawn Backer works on jambalaya {photo by Jen Russon}

By: Jen Russon

On the eve of Fat Tuesday, steaming bowls of jambalaya, brisket, and mojo pork sizzled away at Broward Health Coral Springs.

On stake is the coveted title of “Mardi Gras Champion Chef”.

Under cover of tents decorated with purple, green and yellow Mardi Gras colors, hospital vice president, Alan Goldsmith faced off against Coral Springs Deputy Police Chief Shawn Backer and Coral Springs Parkland Fire Chief Michael McNally on Monday.

Both dishes will be served in the hospital cafeteria tomorrow, with proceeds benefiting the Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center.

The winner emerges after the sales of those dishes are tallied tomorrow.

The chefs took to their stations wearing serious expressions, aprons, and the will power not to nibble on sumptuous bits of andouille and whole roasted pig.

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Goldsmith’s competitors were deep in the process of dicing up the holy trinity of onions, green bell pepper, and celery and a bit of carrot for good measure in the jambalaya they were making.

In addition to being executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the hospital, Goldsmith is also a formidable sous chef and demonstrated his abilities with a foolproof recipe for brisket.

It’s a new method of fundraising for the facility and got a thumbs up from Broward Health President and CEO, Gino Santorio, who stopped by for a taste test.

Janene John, human resource officer for the hospital, said she has Creole in her family tree and knows a good jambalaya when she tastes one. Crediting the Aramark cooks in the hospital kitchen for coming up with the idea to cook New Orleans cuisine this Mardi Gras, she said she had hoped Goldsmith would make her favorite, which is jambalaya.

“Alan had his heart set on making brisket and has worked really hard on getting the recipe just right. We’ll see how it sells in our cafeteria tomorrow — if it’s the winning dish,” John added hopefully.

On Tuesday, the dishes created for the Mardi Gras competition at Broward Health will be duplicated in the cafeteria and sold all day long, with all proceeds donated.

But for now, judges are in the midst of taste testing. Coral Springs Talk will share the winning dish as soon as possible.

This is Broward Health’s first cook-off in honor of Fat Tuesday.  The cafeteria is open to the public and located at 3000 Coral Hills Drive.

UPDATE: Spicy and magnificent jambalaya won the Mardi Gras cooking competition on Fat Tuesday. Congratulations to Deputy Chief Backer, Fire Chief McNally and Division Chief Cardona on outselling their competitors.

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