WMPG’s 2017 Cajun Cookin’ Challenge winner is Sodexo USM Dining!

Sodexo 2017 Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday at WMPG is a highlight of the year, as hundreds gather on USM’s Portland campus to taste Cajun inspired cuisine and groove to New Orleans inspired music!

On February 28, WMPG held it’s 22nd Fat Tuesday Cajun Cookin’ Challenge at Woodbury Campus Center. Over 500 attendees tasted the Cajun creations of nine local food establishments, and then voted for their favorites.

WMPG is proud to announce the 2017 Cajun Cookin’ Champs, Sodexo USM Dining Services, with Chef Matthew Sanderson’s Chicken Gumbo Bites, which were surely the talk of the day! How to describe these delicacies: kind of like hush puppies made from gumbo. Original, and amazing!

WMPG is also pleased to recognize Bayside American Café, in second place with Head Chef Alana Woodbury’s Shrimp and Andouille Etouffée with creamy lobster sauce, veggies and Cajun spices.

All of the restaurant entries were deliciously noteworthy this year, with entries from Gritty’s (2016 champs!), Abilene Portland, Silly’s Restaurant, Po’ Boys & Pickles, Great Lost Bear, Izzy’s Cheesecake and Whole Foods.

Jazz, folk, and Acadian music was performed live by
The Hello Josephines and
Rob Sylvain and Cajun Aces

The event is WMPG’s celebration of the Acadian-Cajun Connection and Maine’s special relationship with the people, music and flavors of New Orleans. Each year, this mid-winter party is a huge thank you to the people Southern Maine, and at USM, for keeping WMPG Community Radio alive and well for over 43 years.

This year’s Cajun Cookin’ Challenge Contenders were:
~ Great Lost Bear (2013 Cajun Cookin’ co-CHAMPS!)
~ USM Dining/Sodexo
~ Po’ Boys & Pickles
~ Gritty’s (2016 Cajun Cookin’ Champs!)
~ Abilene/
~ Whole Foods
~ Bayside American Café (2015 Cajun Cookin’ Champs!)
~ Silly’s Restaurant (2009, 2010, 2011 Cajun Cookin’ Champs!)
~ Izzy’s Cheese Cakes

If you want to get a feel for the event, check out this nice feature the Bangor Daily News ran on the event a couple of years ago: BDN Feature Link