Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chili Challenge offers up spicy competition - By Michelle Libby

With ingredients fresh from the garden, chefs from around the area gathered at the North Windham Union Church to show off their signature chili recipes to support the Windham Community Garden. With competitors from Saint Joseph’s College, Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS), Rustlers, Buck’s Naked BBQ, Southern Maine Community College as well as private groups like Chili con Corey, Ron’s Mexican Cantina & Grill and Ron Juergens. 
Maple’s Organic Gelato on Route 1 in Yarmouth run by Valerie Waters and her brother Patrick Martin had a table to cool down the mouths of the public who were invited in to sample and vote for their favorite. The chili’s ranged from moose meat chili to chicken chili to elk meat chili, there was a flavor and heat level for everyone. 

Scott Walsh, the chef at Saint Joseph’s College, won the people’s choice vote with is elk chili, which is low in fat and low in cholesterol. “It’s heartwarming, heart healthy chili. I’m honored to be named favorite two times in a row. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year,” Walsh said. His secret ingredients were chocolate and port wine. Being close to valentine’s day, he figured he couldn’t go wrong. 

First place in the judged category was Rustlers Steakhouse. “I honestly don’t know (why I won),” said chef Stewart Purinton. “It’s not too spicy and a little sweetness to it. There’s also a lot of meat in it,” he said of his winning chili. He also let it sit overnight for everything to meld. 
Second place went to PATHS seniors Victoria Dudley (WHS), Brandon Buck (G-NG) and Adrianna DiBiase (Casco Bay HS) under the direction of teacher Doug Armstrong. “It’s tremendous,” said Armstrong of the win. 

Even in the chili didn’t win, everyone commented that it was a good way to help the Windham Community Garden. 

The event raised close to $500.

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