Chili cook-off features spicy competition
Guests and participants were glad to have the annual chili cook-off back in St. Paul last week as a variety of spicy and tasty bowls of chili were served and winners were chosen.
On Aug. 29, taste-testers and cooks gathered in the parking lot at the Co-op Mall for the event, with only good things to say of the assortment of chili being served up.
This year, 14 teams took part, cooking and serving their chili to guests, with toppings like cheese and peppers, and biscuits on the side. Each team had its own table, and guests were able to go from one to the next, getting served a portion of each chili to try.
“The Town’s chili was fairly hot,” said John Yopyk, one of the guests at the cook-off. “The County one was also okay, but it had something in the spices that was foreign to me. Overall, I enjoyed them all,” he adds.
Lac la Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills MLA Shayne Saskiw was in attendance at the event, serving his own chili “with a secret ingredient that I am not willing to disclose.”
He added, the cook-off is “a great event for the community, and is going well. It looks like more and more people are showing up every year.”
One of the most unique of all the chilies available was the one being served by the Champions for Change team. As part of an initiative for healthy eating in the community called Thrive on Wellness, the team served a gluten-free, vegetarian chili, made with ground soy protein instead of beef and gluten-free cornbread and biscuits.
“It’s fantastic today, with a great turnout. It’s nice to see the community come together. We’re having a lot of fun,” said Roxanne Bergheim, a chairperson with Champions for Change. “We thought it would be a good opportunity to show what’s going on with us, and our healthy eating initiative.”
“So far, so good. They need bigger bowls, though,” joked Ray Surak, a member of the St. Paul Agricultural Society, indicating how much he enjoyed the chili. “The food is excellent, there’s a nice crowd, and it’s nice to see all the support,” he said.
“I like it – some of it was pretty hot, but overall I think it’s quite good,” said Millie Tymofichuk, a guest at the cook-off who says she attends the event every year. “I enjoyed the one with the garlic the most. I would say I liked that one the best,” she said.
St. Paul and District Co-op General Manager, Graham Getz described the cook-off as a “great success,” also saying, “It’s our first year outside, and we have a substantially higher number of people attending with all these guests, and 14 teams registered this year.”
Getz said the chili cook-off gets a good reaction because it’s seen by many as a way to garner excitement for the rodeo.
“There have been lots of positive comments. We’ve added places to sit with those benches, and went back to chili, from the pulled pork challenge, which really was a good choice. All-in-all, it’s a good fundraiser for the 4-H Light Horse Club.”
This year’s top three winning teams, for the Chili Cook-off were: Servus Credit Union in first place; St. Paul and District Co-op in second place; and Cutline Construction in third place. The first place winners received a plaque and bragging rights.
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