Zeller, one organized cook

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / July 5, 2000

When Gerald Zeller talks about cooking he knows exactly what he wants to talk about. And why not? He has been cooking for large crowds like theLutcher High School Booster Club and the Quarterback Club as head cook and helps out in cooking for the Dugout Club and so much more.

Thirty-five pounds of flour and 3 1/2 gallons of cooking oil to make a roux? Of course, it’s all in writing. Unlike many cooks Gerald keeps organizedrecords of all his cooking events and has handy and accurate statistics on the number of people, meals and ingredients. For instance, he can tell youthat during football season they had 15 meetings and the number of meals served each time. Then he compares the numbers of each year, preparingfor the next time.

For six years Gerald acted as head cook. He can tell you they cookedapproximately 6365 meals. For a Tuesday meeting they started cooking at 6a.m. and people started coming about 3:30 p.m to the drive-up window at thepublic relations building at LHS. Again, Gerald checks his records to tell usthat they used 1,280 lbs. of rice, 1,400 lbs. of ground meat, 195 lbs. offlour, 500 lbs. of onions and 900 lbs. of salad. He says the above stats cangive us an idea of how many pieces of chicken quarters he cooked during that time, too.

Sometimes he helps others, but there are several “once a year” events for which Gerald acts as head cook such as the “Workman’s Lunch” for the Dugout Club. In April they took lunch orders from the area plants and sold1,400 lunches, netting $5,000. For the annual Quarterback Club GolfTournament at Riverlands, Gerald prepared for about 200 plates of food; pork roast and dirty rice. These benefits are helping the LHS QuarterbackClub pay for a new Dog’s Den.

Gerald also cooks for the Catholic Daughters, has cooked for weddings and may charge for an outside event. When the actor Christian LeBlanc, who isoriginally from Convent, came here to be grand marshal for the Bonfire Festival, Gerald was called into service to cook for the actor and his family at the Colonial guest house. Naturally, he made chicken and andouille gumbo.Whereas Gerald cooked for fellow workers at Kaiser sometimes, after his retirement he really got busy with serious cooking. He takes over for workingwife, Marie, to whom he has been wed for 40 years. Their children are Gerald,Jr., Terry, Karl and Donna. There is always something extra cooked in thehome in case some of the family shows up. Squash, eggplant, any kind ofmeat, chicken stew and spaghetti gravy are some of Gerald’s favorites to cook.

“They are not particular; they like it all,” he says of his family which includes the eight grandchildren, Carrie Lynn, Ryan, Emily, Kylie, Kelsey, Alexandra and Clair Zeller and Kayla Veron.

The Zellers have open house every year at Christmas when Gerald cooks gumbo and all the trimmings. The Boy Scouts banquet in Baton Rouge, theDonaldsonville School Board, Enterprise Car Rental, girls’ softball and the JC’s are just some who have experienced Gerald’s culinary talent.

Gerald even cooks for signing day in Baton Rouge, sponsored by the Gridiron Club. He has pictures taken with former Coach Gerry DiNardo. There are alsopictures taken at the tailgate parties with friends from Florida who for 10 years now have enjoyed Gerald’s cooking, including alligator sauce piquant and fried alligator. The tailgate parties are Gerald’s favorite cooking event.The pots used by this Lutcher resident can serve 400 people, 150 people or less. Regardless of what Gerald Zeller cooks, there is always an accuraterecord of it in his book.

If you like feeding large groups, you will want the following recipes.


16 lbs. long grain rice

16 lbs. smoke sausage

16 lbs. pork (cube)10 lbs. onions

6 bell peppers

6 shallots

4 – 10 oz. cans Rotel tomatoes (dice)

1 cup parsley

1 small jar Lea & Perrins

3 – 10 1/2 oz. cans Cream of Celery soup

3 – 10 1/2 oz. cans Cream of Mushroom soup

2 – 8 oz. cans mushroom stem & pieces

12 ozs. salt

2 ozs. black pepper

1 tbs. red pepper

2 tbs. granulated garlic powder

2-1/2 gallons liquid (water or chicken broth – I use chicken broth)

10 gallon black iron pot

Cook sausage. Remove and drain waste. Cook pork until 3/4 tender. Addonions and bell peppers. Cook until pork is tender and onions wilted. Addcooked sausage to pot. Add can ingredients. Simmer all for 10 minutes. Add rest of greens and seasons. Bring to boil. Add rice. Stir until all liquidis gone – approximately 15-20 mins. Cover pot. Cut fire real low. Don’tremove cover for 35 minutes. Remove cover and stir (can add KitchenBouquet for color). Good luck!


6 cups sugar

2 sticks oleo (I use Parkay)

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cans cream (I use Pet milk)

1-1/2 lbs. pecans (cut in half)

Brown sugar in pot. Add milk and oleo. Cook to a soft boil stage(approximately 35 minutes) Add vanilla and pecans. Remove from heat andbeat until cool. Spoon on waxed paper. Good luck!Back to Top

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