TEP Gumbo Contest Pages

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet the Judges of the TEP Gumbo Contest for 2014

Tennessee Equality Project is pleased to announce the official panel of judges for the TEP Gumbo Contest scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. This diverse panel of chefs, public officials and dignitaries will decide the First, Second and Third place winners of the Judge's Choice Gumbo Awards.

Virginia Awkward (far left) is a City of Memphis employee featured in the reality television show Police Women of Memphis on TLC in 2010. Awkward publicly advocated for the Memphis Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 2012. Virginia's charismatic advocacy for equality in Memphis and love of gumbo makes her an outstanding addition to the panel.



2009 Food and Wine magazine's “Best New Chef,” Chef Kelly English is inspired by the familiar flavors from his childhood in southern Louisiana and incorporates that inspiration into each dish he cooks. English currently implements this inspiration for food and service in his sister restaurants, Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis, Tennessee. After working in the kitchens of several New Orleans restaurants during his career, English will bring his knowledge of gumbo to help decide the winners of this spirited competition.




Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford, Jr. is the 2013 Memphis City Council Chairman. He was elected to the City Council in November 2007, making him the youngest African-American ever to be elected to the Council and the second youngest overall at the age of 28. He is a mathematics teacher at Central High School where he graduated in 1996 at the age of 16. Dr. Ford is the oldest child of former Councilman Edmund Ford, Sr. and Myrna Ford. Councilman Ford supported the equality of LGBT city employees and job applicants when he voted for the Memphis Employment Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 2012.


Beverly Marrero is the former State Senator for District 30 and State Representative of the former District 89 in Memphis. During her tenure in the Tennessee General Assembly, Marrero supported the rights and welfare of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Her votes in the legislature consistently demonstrated a love for equality, decency and fairness. Now she will cast her vote for the best gumbo in Memphis!




One of the first judges of the TEP Gumbo Contest in 2011, TEP welcomes the return of Chef Gary Williams to the 2014 Judges panel. Chef Gary believes that food brings folks together. He offers soul food with a Creole twist at DeJaVu Restaurant and recently celebrated the opening of a second restaurant location on Main Street in Downtown Memphis. DeJaVu specializes in vegan and vegetarian Creole food. Follow Chef Gary at his blog Cooking with Gary.



Please join us in thanking our gumbo judges for 2014. Gumbo contestants may register their team for the competition until February 8, 2014 or until slots are sold out. Sign your team up today!

Monday, December 16, 2013

So many ways to celebrate Mardi Gras with TEP

With the holidays just around the corner, Mardi Gras and the TEP Gumbo Contest at the Bridges Center may seem far away. But it's not too early to decide how to participate.

There are more ways than ever before to support the TEP Gumbo Contest in 2014:

  • Host Sponsorship is a great way to advertise your support of equality and the LGBT community in Memphis and the Midsouth. Become a Host Sponsor at the Hot ($500+), Medium ($250-499) or Mild ($100-249) level. Click here to learn more. 
  • Promote your support for equality with an in-kind sponsorship with gift certificate for goods and services from your business. Learn more at http://bit.ly/TEPGumboContestPacket2014
  • Purchase a VIP Table for you and your friends (ONLY 4 TABLES LEFT!!!). VIP table which seats 8 people on the mezzanine level overlooking the gumbo teams. For just $200, each table comes with a complimentary King Cake, 8 gumbo tasting tickets for the People’s Choice competition (includes live music from the Mighty Souls Brass Band and 8 beer or soft drink tickets). A seat at your VIP Table would make a great Christmas gift for your friends or family members. 
  • Register a gumbo team in pursuit of a People's Choice and Judge's Choice Award. Only 10 spaces remain!
Mardi Gras is about food, music and fun. Let the good times roll on Feb. 23, 2014 at the TEP Gumbo Contest!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gumbo Planning Committee to meet at 5:30 PM on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013

The next Gumbo Planning Committee meeting will be from 5:30 to 6:30 PM on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 641 South Cooper St Memphis 38104 at Otherlands Cafe Bar

We'll discuss plans for volunteers and share updates on VIP Tables, Gumbo Teams, Sponsors and much more. 

Support the local and statewide efforts of Tennessee Equality Project to advance equality by helping us plan and raise funds for the best Mardi Gras party and Gumbo Contest in Memphis. At this writing, only 10 team slots remain in the contest. Register your team today at this link!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mighty Souls Brass Band to play TEP Gumbo Contest


Get ready to shake your stuff to some infectious New Orleans Jazz from the Mighty Souls Brass Band at this year's TEP Gumbo Contest on February 23, 2014. Give a listen . . . . . .



We promised this year's Mardi Gras party would be would be bigger and better than ever. The Mighty Souls Brass Band was founded by Sean Murphy (sousaphone, leader), Jim Spake (saxes), Jeremy Shrader (trumpet, vocals), Earl Lowe (drums), and Victor Sawyer (trombone). Memphis's only brass band includes other musicians too in its many performances in the Memphis area.

Click to purchase tickets or a VIP Table, enter the gumbo competition, or become a sponsor of the TEP Gumbo Contest. 



Friday, November 15, 2013

Celebrate Mardi Gras with friends at a VIP Table at the TEP Gumbo Contest

Plans are heating up for the TEP Gumbo Contest on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Bridges Center in downtown Memphis. With a new larger space, we're planning for more gumbo teams and live New Orleans Jazz this year.

We're offering a number of ways to get involved and support the event: VIP Tables, Gumbo Teams, Host Sponsorship levels, and In-Kind sponsors.

King Cake is the traditional
dessert of Mardi Gras.
VIP tables offer a great way to celebrate the occassion of Mardi Gras in grand style. VIP tables on the mezzanine level will overlook the gumbo teams on the main floor and seat up to 8 people . For just $200, each table comes with:

  • 8 gumbo tasting tickets for the People’s Choice competition
  • 8 beer or soft drink tickets
  • Complimentary King Cake
  • Table visits with TEP's Executive Director Chris Sanders
  • Live jazz music

VIP table decoration is encouraged. The VIP table with the best Mardi Gras centerpiece will win an award announced during the competition. VIP tables offer a great way to treat friends to a good time or recruit 6 others to chip in on the purchase of a table.

The number of VIP Tables is limited! Act today to reserve your table and prepare to celebrate Mardi Gras with Tennessee Equality Project.

TEP Gumbo Contest Details:

When: Sunday, February 23, 2013 from 4:30 to 7 PM
Where: Bridges Center, 477 North Fifth Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38105

Click here to purchase your VIP Table!

For more information, contact Jonathan Cole at jonathan@tnequalityproject.com.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gumbo Planning Committee meets tonight!

TEP's Gumbo Planning Committee will meet at Otherlands Cafe on Wednesday, October 30 from 5:30-6:30 PM.

The committee is planning for an even bigger Mardi Gras celebration and gumbo contest in 2014. This signature event helps fund the work of advancing equality in Memphis, Shelby County and all of Tennessee. The contest will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Over the coming months, the committee will need volunteers to help recruit event host sponsors, in-kind sponsors, and gumbo teams. We're also planning to have live music for the first time to entertain our guests.

We need your talent and expertise. If you can attend, please join us this evening and let us know you are coming at the Facebook Event.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mark your calendars now for the 2014 TEP Gumbo Contest

Celebrate Mardi Gras in 2014 in Memphis at the 4th Annual TEP Gumbo Contest. Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 23, 2014 from 4:30 to 7 PM.

New location at Bridges in
Downtown Memphis
This year's Mardi Gras party and gumbo contest will be bigger and better than ever. The gumbo contest is moving to a larger space at Bridges USA at 477 North Fifth Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.

Click HERE to tell us you are coming at the Facebook Event.

Ticket information and other event details to come. The TEP Gumbo Contestant and Sponsorship Packet is now available at http://bit.ly/TEPGumboContestPacket2014.