September is National Rice Month, and in celebration, the Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers sponsored the 17th Annual Rice Cook-Off on Wed., Sept. 24 at The Brick House in downtown Lake Charles. The Port of Lake Charles hosted the event and sponsored the awards luncheon. Family and Consumer Science students from 17 area middle schools and high schools participated in the event.

In the “Best Dish” category, first place was awarded to Victoria Pinal (Cowboy Gumbo) of Sam Houston High School; second place went to Daniel Hammond (Chicken Jambalaya) of W.W. Lewis Middle School; and third place was awarded to Brittany Eaton (Boudin Balls) of Starks High School. In the “Most Heart Healthy” dish category, first place was awarded to Aubrey Swiney (Sea-Veggie Casserole) of R.D. Molo Middle School. Farmers Rice Milling Co., Inc. provided free rice cookers for each contestant.

The production, milling and exporting of rice has a major economic effect on Southwest Louisiana, and the education of our students in Family and Consumer Sciences is important in combating health, nutrition and family issues—all major areas of concern in our community.

Pictured is Adam Habetz, President Calcasieu-Cameron Rice Growers Association (back); Victoria Pinal, Daniel Hammond, Brittany Eaton and Aubrey Swiney (front, from left to right).