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!

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