Jeff Bourque wins Motiva Enterprises 2012 Convent Refinery Jambalaya Jam Cook Off

Lisa Yates @Lisa_editor
Bruce Bourque, left, stands with his brother Jeff Bourque of Gonzales - the winner of the Motiva Enterprises 2012 Convent Refinery Cook Off.

Jeff Bourque of Gonzales won the Motiva Enterprises 2012 Convent Refinery Jambalaya Jam Cook Off – a local fundraising event for Capital Area United Way.

He accepted the award by telephone Thursday afternoon when his brother Bruce Bourque called from the stage to tell him the good news.

"I can't tell you what he said, but the clean version is 'You're kidding,'" he joked.

Bourque explained his brother has been working the night shift since Hurricane Isaac.

"He worked all night and was up cooking for the contest this morning," he said. "He works better under pressure."

He said after cooking, his brother went home to get some sleep before having to work the night shift on Thursday. Bourque, who won the contest last year, said his brother didn't need his help.

"He cooked all by himself," he said. "While he was cooking, he got people in the group to taste it and asked them what did they think. So it was like one big group helping each other."

The runner-up was the team of Barrett Jenkins of Gonzales and Tim Becnel of Vacherie. The third place went to Jesse Louque of Gonzales and Whitey Bourgeois.

Jenkins, who won second place, said he enjoyed the competition.

"It feels good to have made the finals as a winner with 19 teams competing," he said. "It was fun to compete and have people out and enjoy your food."

Approximately 200 spectators from Motiva ate jambalaya from the cook off, paying $5 a plate, with the proceeds benefiting Capital Area United Way.

"This is just one of the fundraising activities we're doing with United Way," said Sara Bures, a senior staff engineer at the company, who serves as the 2012 Convent Refinery United Way Campaign Ambassador.

Bures said Shell Oil and Motiva Enterprises match employee donations through something called the HERO program, which stands for Helping Employees Reach Others. She said even though many plant workers were severely impacted by Hurricane Isaac, they have given generously to help others.

"We need to be servant leaders – to open our eyes and our hearts to what's out there in our community," she said. "People have real needs."

Jessie LeBlanc, a judge on the the 23rd Judicial District Court in La., said she enjoyed participating in the day's activities to help the United Way.

"I love this event," she said. "It is for such a good cause and it's fun, too. As a public servant, I'm very aware of the needs of our community. This is just one way of giving back, a very simple way."

She served as one of the 12 judges at the competition. The other judges included: Cheramie Sonnier, food editor for The Advocate; Lisa Yates, editor at Gonzales Weekly Citizen; Cheryl LeBlanc Babin, lifestyles editor forGonzales Weekly Citizen; Shane Ortego with Sysco Foods; Buggy Lemoine with River Parish Foods; Luis Ramos vice president of manufacturing at Blue Runner Foods; Brandon Troxclair with Ralph's Market; Jared Sears, Motiva HR Manager; Craig Pouche of St. James Parish Sheriff's Office, Captain – Uniform Patrol; and, Abbey Flynn of Capital Area United Way.

Community Liasion Larry Roussel, instructed the judges during the competition.

"When you're looking at the jambalaya, pick the one that tastes the best," he said. "Pick the one you would want to take home with you."

Roussel said the 19 jambalaya cooking teams had to cook 10 or 20 pounds of Mahatma extra long grain rice.

"Teams opting to cook 20 pounds of rice used about 30 pounds of cubed Boston Butt pork, 15 pounds of Veron smoked sausage and 15 pounds of diced onions," he said, adding white beans were served with the jambalaya. "One thousand pounds of Boston Butt was donated by Sysco Foods, 300 pounds of white beans was donated by Blue Runner Foods, 250 pounds of rice was donated by Ralph's Market and 75 pounds of Martin's pickled pork was donated by River Parish Foods. The pickled pork went into the white beans prepared by Motiva's Refinery Cooking Team, Randy Tullier, Harry Cifero, Delmas Durocher and Jim Monahan."

Before he announced the winners, Roussel announced the six finalists.

In the United Division, Jeff Bourque placed first; Matt Bourgeois and Kerry Schexnayder placed second; and, Jesse Louque and Whitey Bourqeois placed third.

The Way Division first place went to Karl Zeller and Andre Becnel; second place went to Barrett Jenkins and Tim Becnel; and, third place went to Darrin Guidry.

The top three winners received customize plaques.

In addition to the plaque, the winner - Jeff Bourque – will represent Motiva at the 25th Annual Jambalaya Jam, Oct. 11, in downtown Baton Rouge.

David Brignac, Site General Manager CEO of Motiva Enterprises Convent Refinery, also cooked in the competition with his own jambalaya recipe. As a United Way Leadership Sponsor, he told the crowd this competition was not just about cooking – it was about helping people.

"The United Way Agencies are an interal part of our community and work directly in the areas of education, health, income and basic needs," he said. "Most of us do not need to look very far to see someone either in our family or neighborhood who has been directly helped by a United Way Agency. Convent Refinery is now hosting a campaign on behald of Capital Area United Way. It is a way for us to say thanks and give back. Please consider joining me in supporting this important organization by participating and giving in this year's campaign.

"Sincere thanks go to all who have taken the time and effort to learn more about the agencies and the United Way organization providing hope and support to our 10-parish community. Each contribution reflects our conviction to help others and make a positive difference."