Named Top 3 Finalist for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week April 09 2015

New Orleans, March 2015 - Kristen Preau Moore, aka "Jambalaya Girl", earned a spot in the top 3 out of 22 businesses for 2015 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week Big Idea Pitch. She pitched her Cook Me Somethin' Mister business idea to bring an authentic taste of New Orleans to the world on Friday, March 27 in front of a panel of celebrity judges and thousands of attendees on a stage in downtown New Orleans. 

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Kristen Preau Moore's Big Idea is promoting New Orleans culture through jambalaya

By Katherine Sayre, | The Times-Picayune
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on March 04, 2015 at 10:00 AM, updated March 04, 2015 at 10:02 AM
The Big Idea 2015

Kristen Preau Moore in character as "Jambalaya Girl" wears dangling fork earrings and a green apron, an image stamped on the packaging of her growing jambalaya rice mix business. 

Moore, 32, said her journey to food entrepreneur is rooted in a desire to work for companies with close connections to the culture of New Orleans -- even dating to high school.

During a job at Jazzland amusement park, she played the pink-haired armadillo, Miss Ima Dilla, in the park's Swamp Critters crew.

After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, she returned home to work for the University of New Orleans athletics and, later, the local architecture firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.

"I wanted to be an ambassador for companies that represented New Orleans well," Moore said.

Her father founded ADGAS outdoor cooking equipment business more than 30 years ago. She remembers helping her father cook jambalaya at big charity and sports events outside in a large cast iron pot. 

Fast-forward to 2005, a few months after she had graduated from college. Moore evacuated to Kentucky for Hurricane Katrina. As a way to raise money for recovery efforts, she traveled to 11 cities, tailgating and cooking jambalaya, raising more than $100,000. 

"I saw how much people not only love our city, but how much they loved our food," she said. 

She developed her rice mix with the idea of bringing that "authentic taste and experience of New Orleans" across the country. Despite stiff competition in this arena, her product is distributed across Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. One store in Australia picked up the mix.

Moore is one of 22 entrepreneurs who hope to win the $25,000 prize at the Big Idea pitch during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March. She hopes to expand nationally and internationally, including traveling to Australia to appear at a music festival food booth, to continue her role as a New Orleans ambassador.