Cooks try to break own jambalaya world record

Michael Tortorich
Cooks attempt to break last year's world record.

Once again this year at the Jambalaya Festival several past World Champion Jambalaya Cooks broke out the famed 800-gallon pot.

The pot is so big that a trench had to be dug out to place it, and a huge fire had to be build to heat up its contents.

The cooks first attempted to set a new Guinness world record last year for the largest pot of a cooked rice meal.

Again this year the endeavor attracted a huge crowd of spectators. A mob of people crowded around the fence containing the steaming pot to get a look Saturday morning next to the line of cooks on South Irma Boulevard.

The cooks toiled away for hours at the converted sugar cane pot.

The legend of the big pot goes back to when Jambalaya Festival Association President Wally Taillon asked 2006 champion Mike Gonzales about cooking jambalaya in the pot.

Last year, a last-minute decision was made to modify the pot and attempt the world record.

Shane Martinez cured the pot and built the frame to hold it up.

Last year, rain filled the three-foot pit dug around the pot. The water had to be pumped out.

This time around the rain held off, allowing the cooks to get the fire going in a relatively dry spot.

The pot, which measures nearly eight feet across the top, had to be transported by a forklist.

Several past champions and helpers took part in the big pot project.

As far as the world record goes, Guinness rejected the initial application because a record for the world’s largest paella – a similar dish – already existed.

A group in Madrid, Spain broke the paella world cooking record in 2001.

Both jambalaya and paella are rice dishes made with the same basic ingredients.

Kyle Frederic, 2004 champion, finally received a certificate documenting the world record after some four months of communicating with Guiness and verifying the feat.

This year the cooks attempted to break their own record by adding to last year’s amount. To do so, they had to top 600 pounds of chicken, 300 pounds of rice, 150 pounds of onions and 600 pounds of water.

Kyle Frederic, World Champion Jambalaya Cook in 2004, feeds the flames of the famous 800-gallon jambalaya pot Saturday.