(09/20/19) LAKE CHARLES, La. — Sixteen students from Calcasieu, Cameron and Beauregard parishes competed in the 2019 Cal-Cam Rice Growers Association Rice Cookoff Sept. 18. at the Port of Lake Charles.
The event was held in conjunction with National Rice Month.
When the judges put down their forks, they decided Danon Jackson, of Moss Bluff Middle School, had the winning dish with her Seafood Risotto.
Danon’s dish was cooked in a pressure cooker, and she said she had help formulating the recipe from her parents, especially her father. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this with without his help.”
She used medium-grain rice instead of traditional risotto rice and included the “holy trinity” of Cajun cooking — bell peppers, onions and celery — along with crab and shrimp.
Danon, an eighth grader, said she likes to cook but she is leaning more toward an engineering career than something in the kitchen.
Her teacher, Renee LaRocque, said Danon had to win her school competition before she advanced to the Cal-Cam cookoff.
Other winners were Zachariah Bleichroth, a Vinton High student who was awarded second place for his Green Rice Casserole, and Paige Laughlin, a Starks High student who won third place with her Cozy Cocoa Rice Pudding. Makala Snyder, of Johnson Bayou High, won the Heart Healthy category with her Bayou Stuffed Bell Peppers.
Other students participating were Abby Parker, of Sulphur High; Anna Shuff, of South Beauregard High; Brayden Ervin, of Sulphur High; Emalee Reinke, of Westlake High; Kimmy Manuel, of Hackberry High; Jayla Coleman, of Iowa High; Jacob Bertrand, of DeQuincy High; Cameron Hickerson, of Barbe High; Brooke Fontenot, of Sam Houston High; Kaylee Webb, of Bell City High; Bliss Stollsteimer, of Iowa Middle; and Kiley Sibille, of South Cameron High.
All students received a variety of gifts, including a rice cooker donated by Farmers Rice Milling and a gift bag from USA Rice. Winners received cash prizes from the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association.
The Port of Lake Charles sponsored a meal and tour of the port for students and teachers, and they saw a ship being loaded with milled rice bound for Iraq.
Judges for the events were Jonathan Ringo, of the Port of Lake Charles; Shatonia McCarty, of the LSU AgCenter Calcasieu Parish office; and Raquel Landry, of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation.
Four finalists were chosen out of 16 contestants in the 2019 Rice Cookoff Contest held by the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association Sept. 18. From left to right are third place winner Paige Laughlin of Starks High School, second-place winner Zachariah Bleichroth of Vinton High, first-place winner Danon Jackson of Moss Bluff Middle, and Heart Healthy winner Makala Snyder of Johnson Bayou. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter
Contestants in the 2019 Rice Cookoff sponsored by the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association were, left to right, front row, Danon Jackson, of Moss Bluff Middle who won first place; Makala Snyder, of Johnson Bayou who won the Heart Healthy category; Brooke Fontenot, of Sam Houston High; Kaylee Webb, of Bell City High; Emalee Reinke, of Westlake High; Kimmy Manuel, of Hackberry High; Abby Parker, of Sulphur High; Anna Shuff, of South Beauregard High; back row, Kylie Sibille of South Cameron High; Bliss Stollsteimer, of Iowa Middle; Paige Laughlin, of Starks High; Zachariah Bleichroth, of Vinton High; Cameron Hickerson, of Barbe High; Jacob Bertrand, of DeQuincy High; Jayla Coleman of Iowa High; and Brayden Ervin, of Sulphur High. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter