The First Jambalaya Champ
The idea for the first Jambalaya Festival evolved in 1967 from a slogan originated by Steve Juneau, a native of Avoyelles Parish and and employee of Welsh Funeral Home in Gonzales. Juneau was convinced that the quality of Jambalaya cooked in Gonzales was so exeptional that the city shoud be dubbed, "The Jambalaya Capital of the World." But the first Jambalaya Champ actually came out of Iberville Parish in a little town of St. Gabriel. His name is George Fairchild Sr.
George Fairchild Dr. was born and raised in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, in Iberville Parish. He was a family man, that loved to cook. Papa George (which is what everyone called him) was 70 years old when he was crowned First World Champion Jambalaya cook in 1968. Papa George was a retired employee of the State Highway Department. He learned to perfect his cooking technique by running a hunting camp. He always did all his cooking out doors, over a wood fire, because "wood gives the jambalaya a taste nothing else will." The main catch he said; was to get the chicken and the onions browned just like it should be. The secret of great jambalaya is to fry the hen until brown in extra fat. Tenderize by covering after browning, remove excess fat and then brown the onions with meat. Then add garlic, salt, pepper and hot sauce then stir lightly. Add rice and water, allow riced to boil, turn, cover tightly and cook over low heat until done. One thing all Gonzales recipes have in common Papa George said, is that; "Were Plain." The seasoning must not over come the flavor of the meat used. The meat will season the rice.
Papa George cooked all around the United States, though he cooked jambalaya quite often, and had been cooking for many years, Papa George never seemed to get tired of it. He was his best advertisment for his own jambalaya, for he ate some everytime he cooked. "The Jambalaya King" honor could not have been bestowed upon a nicer gentleman. He had been as faithful as anyone could be in doing his share of cooking for the community.
George Fairchild Sr. was a family man, married to the former Mable King and they had six children. The couple married, June 1, 1920 in the Historical St. Gabriel Catholic Church. Until the time he was called by God, he loved to cook and loved to see people enjoy his food. Papa George died on September 2, 1993.
This benefit is in his honor. All the money raised will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to help fund life-saving research for children battling cancer and other catastrophic diseases. We all have the power to save lives and from the staff, parents, and children of St. Jude "Thank You."