Monday, July 27, 2009

Okanagan College student wins Florida Tomato recipe contest

David Colombe, a culinary student at Okanagan College in Vernon British Columbia, was the grand prize winner in the 20th annual Florida Tomato Committee's Best of the Best recipe contest held at food marketing and communications agency Lewis & Neale in New York City. A panel of chefs and food writers selected Colombe's Fire Roasted Florida Tomato Gumbo (recipe below) as the best, winning him the $2,000 first prize.

(the judging panel from l to r): chef Rob Bleifer, Food Network; chef Deirdre Devoy, Restaurant Associates; Reggie Brown, Florida Tomato Committee; Samantha Winters, Florida Tomato Comittee; Gary Tucker, Food Arts; Pat Cobe, Restaurant Business; and Jason Stemm, Lewis & Neale

For more information, visit

Fire Roasted Florida Tomato Gumbo
David Colombe, student-chef, Okanagan College,

Yield: 6 portions (10 cups)

2 1/2 lbs. fully ripened Florida tomatoes
2 T. butter
1/2 c. andouille sausage, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. carrot, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. celery, coarsely chopped
2 t. garlic, finely chopped
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 c. chicken stock
3 T. tomato paste
2 t. sugar
1 t. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 t. ground white pepper
1 c. cooked converted white rice
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. croutons and rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Method (1) Set grill or broiler rack about 4 in. from heat source; preheat. Core tomatoes; place on grill or in roasting pan under the broiler. Cook, turning once, until skin blackens, about 30-40 minutes. (2) In medium saucepan, melt the butter; add sausage, onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables just begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; cook and stir until flour begins to brown, 3-5 minutes. (3) In a blender or food processor, coarsely chop grilled tomatoes; add to vegetables in saucepan. Stir in the stock, tomato paste, sugar, rosemary, salt, red pepper and white pepper. Simmer 15 minutes, partially covered. (4) Add rice and cream; cook until just hot. Spoon into soup plates, dividing equally. Garnish with croutons and rosemary sprigs, if desired.