Food for the Soul

The 8th annual Soul Food Cook Off will be held January 14, 2012 at the Muskogee Civic Center.

By: Amy Lynn | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2011

Enjoy delicious meats and more made by the finest soul food chefs around at the Soul Food Cook Off.

Enjoy delicious meats and more made by the finest soul food chefs around at the Soul Food Cook Off.

Calling all cooks to the 8th annual Soul Food Cook Off! If you have what it takes to get in the competition with some of the best cooks in the state of Oklahoma, this is for you. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will be given away in five different categories: Meat, Bread, Dessert, Vegetable and Miscellaneous.

The Cook Off will be held Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Muskogee Civic Center. The deadline to enter will be Thursday, January 10, 2012 at 5 p.m. “The Dr. Martin Luther King Soul Food Cook Off is the perfect venue to celebrate the rich African American ­heritage of soul food,” says Cassandra Gaines, event creator and marketing director of the Muskogee Civic Center. “Soul food is simply comfort food made from scratch – sweet potato pie, smothered chicken and rice, smothered pork chops, homemade macaroni and cheese, greens, hot water corn bread, candied yams, peach cobbler. We bring ­together a diverse community ­of people who enjoy the ­tradition of eating good food together and having fun.”

One of Cassandra’s responsibilities as marketing director of the civic center is to host multicultural community events. In 2004, she had the idea for a soul food cook off to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The idea quickly caught on and is now spreading across the country.

The judging panel for the Cook Off consists of professionals who either own or ­manage a restaurant. “The judges are ­different every year, and the cooks do not know who the judges are. It’s a fair game for everyone,” Cassandra says.

If you’re not the best cook but love some good soul food, taster kits are $10. “This family-friendly event is guaranteed to produce fond memories and plenty of full stomachs,” says Cassandra.

Several events will take place the whole weekend of the Cook Off. On January 13 is the Blues Night, featuring four outstanding blues singers at the Historical Roxy Theater. Admission is $10. On January 15, also at the Roxy Theater, will be a free Gospel Night with the Gospel Sound of Sonday, three dynamic women singing new and old ­religious music.

What a way to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday! For more information or to become a part of the three day weekend, call (918) 684-6363 ext. 23. Applications and rules for the Soul Food Cook Off are available. “Anybody who thinks they can cook is welcome. We have cooks of all ages and from all walks of life,” Cassandra explains. “We have many first-timers and many who return year after year.”


For more information, contact

Muskogee Civic Center

425 S. Boston St.
Muskogee, OK 74401
(918) 684-6363 ext. 23 


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