Boca GumboFest 2018 - Gumbo Judges

Gordon Gilbert - Founder of Gumbo Limbo


Gordon Gilbert is the founder of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Inc., and a professional judge at national cooking challenges, so a clear choice for this event!

Few have played such a pivotal in establishing Gumbo Limbo, its place in Boca, and it's environmental focus, than Gordon Gilbert.


Joseph Cooper - Former WLRN (Local NPR Affiliate) Producer/Host on Environmental and Social issues. Creator of 'Topical Currents'.


Joseph Cooper began his broadcasting career after graduation from the acclaimed Missouri School of Journalism.  For many years he was programming director of WLRN Public Radio in South Florida, while producing radio documentaries on environmental and social issues.

He created the daily public affairs/interview/talk format program called Topical Currents on WLRN in 1999, and was host and co-host for 18 years.  It was a blend of news, author interviews, history and culture segments. Joseph was featured weekly on food writer Linda Gassenheimer’s Food & Dining segments for 18 years. In the 1980s, Cooper remembers nursing a New Orleans morning hangover with hearty French Quarter gumbo...

Cooper retired from WLRN in the fall of 2017.  His post-retirement avocation is helping youth as a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer in Miami-Dade County.



 Dr. Samantha Danchuk - Assistant Director of Environmental Planning & Community Resilience Division of Broward County


Dr. Samantha Danchuk is the Assistant Director of the Environmental Planning & Community Resilience Division of Broward County where she leads the implementation of the County’s Climate Action Plan and the Energy and Sustainability program activities. The program is focusing on increasing the business community’s interest in energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy installations, inspiring and training new Climate Ambassadors and providing resiliency policy and planning technical support to the region. As a staff steering committee member for the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, the four-county climate and adaptation strategy collaborative, she led the workgroup to develop the unified sea level rise projection update and provided support for the Resilient Redesign and Regional Climate Action Plan workshops. With expertise in coastal engineering, she serves as a technical resource for several interagency efforts including the USACE Resilience Study, the White House’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative exchange program, the Area Contingency Planning Committee, as staff for the Climate Change Task Force and as chair for NOAA’s Climate and Marine Resources Task Force. Dr. Danchuk earned a doctorate from Louisiana State University, a Masters from UC Berkeley and a B.S. from Florida State University in the fields of environmental engineering and computational fluid dynamics (coastal modeling).


 Steve Abrams - Palm Beach County Commissioner, Fmr. Mayor of Palm Beach County, Fmr. Mayor of Boca Raton

Steven L. Abrams has been a member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners since 2009, winning re-election twice.  He had the distinction of serving as the first mayor of Palm Beach County in 2013 and is currently the longest serving commissioner on the Board. 

Commissioner Abrams has a lengthy record of public service.  He is the former mayor of Boca Raton, elected in 2001 and re-elected in 2003 without opposition.  In the 2005 election, Abrams won re-election with 83% of the vote and was later named mayor emeritus when he stepped down in 2008 due to term limits. 

The Commissioner also served five terms as a city council member in Boca Raton from 1989 to 1999 and was a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board between 1987 and 1989. Abrams is a past president of the Palm Beach County League of Cities and a founding board member of the Florida League of Mayors.

As mayor of Boca Raton, Abrams gained national exposure and local respect during the first bioterrorist attack in American history when anthrax was discovered at the AMI building in Boca Raton in 2001.  He received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Israel National Police for his leadership during the ordeal and testified on national television on the government’s response at the invitation of a United States Senate subcommittee.