It was hot in Cos Cob this past weekend ... in a tasty sort of way.
Residents who dropped by the Diamond Hill United Methodist Church felt the occasional burn of the piquant samples of all things chili at the 6th Annual Cos Cob Chili Cook-Off. Some of the contestants brought fire extinguishers. And so did one of the judges. "I came prepared," chuckled Selectman David Theis, as he carried a small red extinguisher into the church basement.
The enticing, savory smells of chili peppers, tomatoes, cumin and what some of the 15 contestants described as "secret ingredients," wafted through the air and out the doors of the church basement into the parking lot on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5.
And it was up to Theis, First Selectman Peter Tesei and Bill Ingraham, commodore of the Mianus River Boat & Yacht Club to taste samples of each entry—both meat and vegetarian versions of the spicy stews. Attendees also cast ballots for the People's Choice Award for the Oct. 5 competition.
The culinary labor to create the zesty concoctions and the gustatory after-burn were all for a good cause — the Neighbor to Neighbor food pantry at Christ Church Greenwich. The agency will receive $1,000 raised from admissions paid at the door, according to Cook-Off organizer Carol Willson, and for which Executive Director Nancy Coughlin said the agency is grateful for the money raised.
The competition was all in good fun to see who would bring home the bragging rights of having the best chili served in Cos Cob, with the able serving duty of members of Boy Scout Troop 10 of Cos Cob.
Thaddeus and Patty Kochan of Cos Cob each had their own versions of chili, both using ingredients from their garden—tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro. For Thaddeus, the only store-bought ingredients in his beef chili were "the meat and the beans." Patty cooked a vegetarian version that featured barley and corn with the usual chili staples.
For Gary 'Tex' Texiere his ingredients included Italian sausage, beef, roasted poblanos, adobe and onions.
Eleven-year-old Bethany Welliver was the taste-tester who gave a thumbs-up for her dad Scott's chili. "I just taste it to see if it's got a good temperature. It's not too spicy ... and I don't like it bland," Bethany said.
Fausto Mieres was serving up one of two chilis presented by Corbo's Deli. His was a delectable, unique combination of lamb, corn, black beans, poblano peppers, farm tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, cilantro and lime zest.
And what's a chili competition without a fire house represented?
Joe Sechi and Tom Zawatski of the Glenville Volunteer Fire Department brought up the ranks with their beef chili laden with "four different hot pepper, four different onions, peeled plum tomatoes and the proper powdered seasoning," according to Sechi. And the secret ingredient? "Cumin — if you don't have cumin, it's not chili — you've got Sloppy Joes," Sechi added.
First-place winner of the judging committee was Walter Burhans. Chosen for second place was the Glenville Fire Department's Sechi, with Sandra McMurray for third place.
- 1st: Gary Texiere
- 2nd: Scott Welliver
- 3rd: Michael Tassone
- 1st: Mitzi Adams
- 2nd: Patty Kochen
- 3rd: Anne Heinemann
People's Choice Beef:
- 1st: Glenville Fire Co. Joe Sechi
2nd: Walter Burhans
3rd: Sandra McMurray
- 1st: Gary Texiere
- 2nd: Kip Burgwerger
- 3rd: Fausto Mieres
- 1st: Patty Kochen
2nd: Anne Heinemann
3rd: Mitzi Adams.
Fjord Fishery, Empy's Day Spa, Darien Physical Therapy James Ramsey, Splash Car Wash, Bluefish Baseball, Goffers Ice Cream, Sportsman's Den, Corbo's Deli, CVS Cos Cob, Pizza Post, Bruce Park Grill, Chill Bear, Chicken Joe's, Packages Plus-N-More, Arcuri's and Bobby Q.