Food & Drink

Artistic Flair Extends to the Kitchen in Somerville Restaurant’s Gumbo Cook-Off

d25a22f948ef8335f9a5_sompixgumbowinner2017lesfloyd__1_.JPG
Les Floyd doffs his hat and thanks Verve owner Rick St. Pierre before accepting first prize in Sunday's 4th annual Gumbo Cook-Off. Proceeds benefit the Matheny School in Peapack. Credits: Rod Hirsch
d25a22f948ef8335f9a5_sompixgumbowinner2017lesfloyd__1_.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Longtime borough resident Les Floyd is best known as an artist, whose oils and acrylics were on display last weekend during a Black History Month reception at Verve Restaurant, Bistro & Lounge.

On Sunday, he returned to Verve to reveal that his artistic flair extends to the kitchen.

Floyd was declared the winner in the 4th annual Gumbo Cook-off contest sponsored by Verve on Sunday, coming out on top of three other gumbo chefs, earning him a bottle of wine, a gift card, but most importantly, bragging rights for the next year.

Sign Up for E-News

A gracious winner, the virtuoso doffed his hat and thanked his fellow contestants and those who came to Verve to pay $10 to sample each of the gumbos, as well as side dishes prepared by the Verve kitchen.

The  cover charge will be donated to the Matheny School  in Peapack.

“I’ve been doing this for years; this is the first I won,” Floyd said, putting to rest two weeks of “smack” talk between him and the second place winner, Rich Reitman.

Floyd’s gumbo was a traditional recipe, a blend of crab, shrimp, spices and andouille, a spicy sausage.

Reitman’s entry was a recipe that also used andouille, which he blended with crawfish and three pounds of shredded alligator fillets that were packed in dry ice and shipped fresh from Louisiana.

Third place finisher Steve Catania chose lobster meat for his gumbo, while last year’s winner William Simonitts brewed up a “Gobbler” gumbo with turkey and spicy stuffing on the side.

Each of the contestants was required to deliver two gallons of their gumbo to Verve by early afternoon. The gumbos were served buffet-style with diners returning several times to sample each of the entries; the $10 cover also included one ticket each for all to vote, dropping their ticket in a bowl alongside each chafing to vote for their preferred gumbo.

The cook-off marked the midway point in Verve’s five-day Mardi Gras celebration, which culminates on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before the Lenten season begins.

Visitors to Verve are encouraged to bid on the Mardi-Gras style masks that decorate the walls, created by residents of the Matheny School, which treats young adults with severe physical and mental challenges. The masks will be sold to the highest bidders. Bids are accepted through Tuesday.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Matheny School.

Gaudy beads and other bling are in abundance; specialty drinks will be available.

Further information is available by calling Verve at (908) 707-8655 or online at VerveStyle.com

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Franklin Township: Tuesday Game Night Party - Family Style board and other games

June 24, 2018

A FUN NIGHT: A GAME NIGHT: A PARTY NIGHT: A SOCIAL AFFAIR.

SOMERSET, NJ - DNA's Music will be hosting its weekly 'Tuesday Game Night Party' at De Island Breeze at 676 Franklin Boulevard, doors open at 6:30 pm. 

Organizers say the weekly event is a night to socialize with friends while engaging in logical and strategic, or not so strategic games.

"This is not only a ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Police Issue Alert for Missing New Brunswick Girl (FOUND)

Update: According to New Brunswick Police Department Capt. JT Miller, Tomesell has been located.  

NEW BRUNSWICK - Police today issued a plea for the public’s help in finding a missing 13-year-old girl.

Payton Tomesell, was last seen on Wednesday at 18 Abeel St., authorities said.

The girl suffers from anxiety and depression, and is taking medication, police ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...