Chilly weather, chili cook-off in Wareham
On Saturday, March 9, 17 chili cook-off contestants offered up their unique recipes to warm the bellies of the Wareham community at Stone Path Malt.
Participants got creative with their stews, giving attendees a variety of flavors to sample. The most creative ones included chocolate, lime, and white chicken.
Starting at 6 p.m., over 300 guests packed the brewery to taste the chilis and voted on their favorite. Some of them had a specific rating criterion in mind.
“I will give my vote to the hottest chili there is,” said Jacob Livingston of Wareham. “If it doesn’t make me cry, it’s not good enough for me.”
Anyone who takes pride in cooking chili usually includes a special ingredient that, according to whichever chef you ask, sets his or her dish apart from all others.
One of the last year’s winners, Raven Lee Pitter, spilled the beans on some of her secrets. She claimed that to win over the guests’ taste buds, she uses only fresh ingredients.
“You cannot cut corners. Nothing canned, you want everything fresh,” said Lee Pitter. “You want to chop your own jalapeños, serrano peppers, garlic, tomatoes. You want absolutely everything to be fresh. It is time-consuming, but it makes all the difference in the world.”
Another contestant, Amanda Cobb, who presented her unique White Chicken chili, believes that the most important indigents in the stew are “spices and love.”
“I cooked my chili from six to eight hours, with lots of spices and lots of love,” said Cobb.
All proceeds from the contest benefit the Onset Bay Association and their community events, such as fireworks, concerts, and festivals.
In previous years, the Wareham Chili Contests raised nearly $1,000.
Kat Jones, the executive director of Onset Bay Association, said she hoped to double that amount this year as a record number of people attended the event.
“We have never had so many people coming to the contest before,” said Jones as she witnessed a line of people waiting to enter the building.
Jones has previously hosted seven chili cook offs and said each was more successful than the last.
The winner with the best overall chili at the competition was Wareham’s own Fire Department.
Minkle Boys Catering, represented by Danny Minkle, won best professional chili. The company also won the category for hottest chili.
First place for best Amateur chili went to Jay and Denise Thompson representing Harborside Farm.
The prize for best vegetarian chili went to the Gleason Family YMCA, represented by Cathleen Longfield. Longfield and the YMCA also took first place for best presentation.