Reserve local, Myra Edgar Brown, competes in Favorite Chef competition

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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RESERVE — There is still time to vote and get St. John the Baptist Parish resident Myra Edgar Brown into the Top 5 of the online Favorite Chef competition, giving her a shot at earning a $50,000 prize.

Brown is currently ranked No. 4 in the Top 10. Voting for the Top 5 is open through 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18 at the following link:

Brown grew up watching her Creole mother and grandparents work miracles in the kitchen. After cooking her first spaghetti and meatballs dish at age 8, Brown began inventing her own decadent meals. To her, cooking is a form of art come to life.

The community has come to love Brown’s Creole chicken and sausage gumbo, jambalaya, catfish a’la crème, bisque and oyster dressing. The following recipe is from her collection:

Myra’s Chicken Gumbo

Makes about 8 servings

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1⁄4 pounds smoked turkey neck, chopped

3⁄4 pound smoked andouille, cut 1⁄2-inch thick

1 pound smoked sausages, cut 1⁄2-inch thick

2 bay leaves

1 gallon water

2 1⁄4 cups chicken broth

1⁄2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced

1⁄2 pound boneless chicken thighs, diced

1 1⁄2 pounds chicken wings, halved and wing tips removed

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1⁄2 bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon filé powder

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

Cooked long-grain rice, for serving

  1. In a large cast-iron pot, add flour, and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until flour is the color of dark caramel. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine turkey, sausage, bay leaves, 1 gallon water, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer, and cook 30 minutes or until turkey meat is tender. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving meat.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, in batches, if necessary, and brown on all sides. Set aside. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook until onion is tender. Add chicken mixture and toasted flour to pan, stirring to coat.
  4. Gradually add turkey broth to chicken, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until no flour taste remains. Add onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, filé, parsley, reserved turkey, and reserved sausage, and cook, stirring, 5 minutes more. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with rice.


In the Favorite Chef competition, Brown has surpassed some professional chefs and owners of big-time restaurants.

“I cook with love and grace, and love cannot be measured,” Brown said.

Winning the $50,000 would give Brown the opportunity to open her own restaurant, further her education in culinary art and complete a cookbook to extend her legacy to her children, grandchildren and future generations.
The Favorite Chef competition is hosted by celebrity chef Eddie Matney and benefits Feeding America. Participants can submit a daily free vote using a Facebook login or choose to submit “hero votes” that donate $1 per vote to a nationwide network of food banks feeding the hungry.