Former Liberty County educator making bold move into food market

Tim Gassiott is happy to be launching his Jambalaya Hut products in Market Basket stores in Southeast Texas. Gassiott, who grew up in Cleveland, now lives in the Sealy area but is hoping to eventually move his operation to Liberty County soon.

Cleveland native Tim Gassiott is celebrating this week as his Cajun-inspired food products are now being sold in Market Basket stores in Southeast Texas and Louisiana.

“It has taken me a long time to get to this point, but I couldn’t be happier,” Gassiott said. “Three weeks ago, I met with a friend of my cousin who owns a brokerage firm. I gave him samples of my food and the next week I was meeting with Market Basket. It happened that quickly. Once I got with the broker, things began happening nearly every day.”

The first Jambalaya Hut product being introduced to Market Basket customers is a ready-to-heat-and-eat chicken and sausage gumbo sold in frozen tubs. Inside each tub is a 28-ounce boiling bag that simply needs to be heated in boiling water. Then the product can be served with rice, crackers or potato salad, or served alone.

Each container comes with 7 half-cup servings, which Gassiott says is equivalent to three good-sized bowls of the delicious gumbo. The ready-to-eat gumbo being sold in stores comes with chicken, sausage, celery, onion, bell pepper, a little okra, and a unique blend of spices.

Gassiott’s recipe is based on a family recipe. His love of cooking, he says, was inspired by watching his mother, aunts and grandmothers cook their dishes with love and pride.

“I won the Winnie Rice Festival’s cooking contest a couple of years ago with my jambalaya. I am still hoping to bring the jambalaya to stores as well,” Gassiott said. “It has basically the same ingredients as the gumbo, but the rice is cooked in with it. Both the gumbo and the jambalaya are seasoned in such a way that you taste the heat of the spices gradually. Once you swallow it, you feel the heat.”

Each tub of Jambalaya Hut gumbo has a two-year serve-by date, so it can be purchased and stored in the freezer.

In the coming weeks, he is launching a second product in Market Basket stores – boudin tamales, which he predicts will be another hit to customers who like Cajun boudin and Tex-Mex.

He also is working to bring his gumbo mix to stores. It will have the same ingredients used for the ready-to-eat gumbo minus the meat, so it can be mixed with crawfish, seafood and other meats, depending on the cook’s preference.

“The gumbo and jambalaya products have a unique taste and are low in sodium, calories and carbohydrates,” he said.

If Gassiott’s name is familiar, it might be because he taught for 30 years, mostly at school districts throughout Liberty County. His mother’s family – the Carters, Simmons and Wrights – have lived in Liberty County since the early 1800s in areas still around today – Carter Loop and Simmons Bottom.

After growing up in Cleveland, Gassiott went on to teach at New Caney, Hardin, Cleveland, Tarkington and Dayton. His longest teaching job was for Dayton ISD where he served as an assistant principal for Woodrow Wilson Junior High in Dayton for a year and then as the career and technology director for Dayton High School for 20 years.

“I had two friends in teaching who had heart attacks during my last year in teaching. Teaching is stressful, so I decided it was time for a new challenge. That’s when I got into the poultry business and went to work for Conagra,” Gassiott said.

While working for Conagra Brands, which distributes food products for Slim Jim, Reddi Whip, Duncan Hines, David’s Seeds, Hunts tomato products, Vlasic pickles, Birds Eye vegetables, Marie Callender’s and Healthy Choice, Gassiott learned a lot about food packing and distribution.

“I learned the steps it took to get my products to market. I worked long and hard on this, and I learned that if you don’t have representation through a broker, it is hard to get your products into stores,” he said. “It’s an exciting time right now in my life. I have been trying to get to this point for years, knocking on doors and finding out how to break into this business.”

Currently, Gassiott and his wife are living in the Sealy area where they are taking care of Mary’s mother.

In describing how he feels about living outside of Liberty County at the moment, he uses a quote from the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove where the character Deets asks Gus McCrae, upon arriving in the Wyoming Badlands, “What are we doin’ up here, Captain? This ain’t our land.”

“That’s how I feel about living outside of Liberty County, and I am looking forward to eventually moving back home,” he said.

If you are interested in purchasing Jambalaya Hut products, the closest Market Basket stores to Liberty County can be found in Beaumont and Stowell. There are five Market Basket locations in Beaumont and one in Stowell, which is just south of Winnie on Highway 124.

For more information on Jambalaya Hut, go online to


  1. Congratulations Mr Gasatoe ha, you were a great inspiration to my daughter in Dayton. Great deal and best of luck! Cliff Pleggenkuhle

  2. This is awesome….. put us in the map in a positive way! Love it!! Congratulations and wishing you success!!! 💜

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