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Mt Washington Valley Chili Cook-Off (13th Annual), NH, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
New Hampshire Chilli Cook Off - 13th Annual - Mr. Washington, NH, USAChili and Cornbread are perfect winter comfort food, so we set off to North Conway Village, New Hampshire to experience the 13th Annual Chilly Chili Cook-Off presented by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. For those not familiar with chili, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "Chili con carne, a spiced stew of ground beef and minced chiles or chili powder usually with beans," and cornbread as "a bread or cake made with cornmeal." These broad definitions provided plenty of opportunity for chefs to let their creativity flow for this very tasty competition.

 

The 13th Annual Chili Cook-Off held on Saturday, February 27, 2016 in North Conway Village, New Hampshire, presented us with the opportunity to taste a wide variety of chili and cornbread recipes from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm from professional chefs as well as from chefs competing for non-profit groups.

Cornbread- Photo by Luxury Experience
Cornbread

Chief Judge Chef Bryant Alden and his team, Gary Sheldon, Larry Baima, Keith Lemerise, Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, Matt Houghton, and Christian Boucher, had the difficult task of judging the "Best Chili," the "Best Cornbread" and the "Best Display" for the Professional Chef Division. Judges selected the winning recipes based on "aroma, consistency, and taste."

As ticket holders, we had the opportunity to sample all of the entries along with the judges, and vote in the People's Choice ballots for both the Professional Chef Division and the amateur-friendly non-profits People's Choice Division.

We spent the better part of an afternoon tasting chili and cornbread, and the chili recipes varied from chef to chef regarding the types of meats, beans, and other ingredients used to create their tasty chili, and the heat ranged from mild to wild. Cornbread recipes ranged from the traditional plain to the more exotic. So how many ways are there to make chili and cornbread? Read on to see the inspired ingredients from these creative participating chefs. 

Chilies- Photo by Luxury Experience
Chilies

Professional Chef Division 

The chefs went all out to create interesting recipes for the Cook-Off and used a diverse range of ingredients in their chili and cornbread. Some of the chefs divulged the ingredients in their recipes, while others kept them "secret." 

Chef AJ Kaufman - Appalachian Mountain Club - "Crawford Roadhouse Chili" featured ground steak and had medium heat. 

Chef Tyler Schwartz - Chef's Bistro - "Frisky Brisket Chili," used brisket in his medium heat recipe, and won the award for "Best Display." 

Chef Mike Rennie - Cranmore Mountain Resort - "Chipotle and Ale" used ground beef, pork, vegetables, fresh ground spices, and locally brewed beer to create his chili recipe. 

Chef Mike Rennie- Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Mike Rennie - Cranmore Mountain Resort

Chef Vanessa Davis - Highfields Restaurant at the Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club created 2 versions of chili, a "White Chicken Tomatillo Chili" with medium heat, and a mild "Veggie Chili." 

Chef Vanessa Davis- Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Vanessa Davis - Highfields Restaurant

Chef Seammus McGrath - McGrath's Tavern created "Bacon, Pulled Pork, Smokehouse Porter Chili" accompanied by cornbread.  

Chef Seammus McGrath - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Seammus McGrath - McGrath's Tavern

Chef Glenn White - Memorial Hospital Maine Health created 2 types of chili, "Texas Meat Style Chili," which used sirloin, brisket, chorizo, red beans, and a blend of peppers, in his recipe that had medium to hot spice, and he also created a "Vegan Sweet Potato Chili" made with sweet potatoes, black beans, and a blend of peppers, with medium to hot spice. To give his cornbread a little kick, he added lime to complement his Texas Style Chili. 

Chef Glenn White- Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Glenn White - Memorial Hospital Maine Health

Chef Calah Orfont - The Local Grocer - "Local Turkey and White Chili" featured local ground turkey from Behr Farm, Tamworth, New Hampshire, housemade turkey stock from Stonewood Farm, Vermont, organic onion from Brookford Farm, Cantlebury, New Hampshire, organic garlic from Mountain Flower Farm, Intervale, New Hampshire, Bone Shaker Brown Ale from Moat Mountain Brewery, maple syrup from 100 Acre Wood, Intervale, New Hampshire, organic crushed tomatoes, organic lima beans, organic kidney beans, organic cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, and sea salt. 

The Local Grocery - Photo by Luxury Experience
The Local Grocer

Chefs Craig Fergola and Alan Dyer - Sea Dog Brewing created the decadent "Cornball Corn Bread" made with cornmeal, corn, cheddar cheese, and sour cream, that was baked, then grilled with butter, to accompany their chili.

Chef Craig Fergola and Chef Alan Dyer - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chefs Craig Fergola and Alan Dyer
Sea Dog Brewing

Chef Maureen Reilly - Stow Corner Store - created her chili recipe using 5 types of meat (beef, pork, chicken, sausage, and ground Italian sausage), 4 types of beans, pumpkin beer, peppers, onions, and "secret ingredients." Her moist, very tasty, and different cornbread recipe had cranberries, jalapenos, sour cream, and cheese in its ingredients and won the taste buds of the judges earning her the "Best Cornbread" award.

Chef Maureen Reilly - Photo by Luxury Experience

Chef MaureenReilly's CornbreadCornbread- Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Maureen Reilly - Stow Corner Store

Chef Christopher Nelson - White Mountain Hotel & Resort, Inc. used chorizo and black beans in his recipe to create "Black Bean & Chorizo Chili," which had mild heat.

Chef Chris Nelson - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Christopher Nelson - White Mountain Hotel & Resort

Chef Ryan Gentile - Vito Marcello Italian Bistro provided the recipe for "Chef Vito Marcello's Chili Calabrese" at their table, which featured beef loin sirloin grilling tips, pancetta, and pepperoni, onion, garlic, chicken broth, Anaheim peppers, red cherry peppers, red pepper flakes, chick peas, great northern beans, red kidney beans, and Chef Vito Marcello's Fra Diavolo Sauce. He was the only chef who gave his recipe along with a sample of his chili at the Cook-Off, which we have included below so that you can create a batch of this tasty chili.

Chef Ryan Gentile - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Ryan Gentile - Vito Marcello Italian Bistro

Chef Vito Marcello's Chili Calabrese

Ingredients

2
Jars
Chef Vito Marcello's Fra Diavolo Sauce
4
Ounces
Olive Oil
3
Pounds
Beef Loin Sirloin Grilling Tips, cut into 1-inch chunks
4
Ounces
Pancetta, diced
1
Pound
Pepperoni Stick, remove skin, cut in half, and slice
1
Cup
Onion, medium diced
1
Tablespoon
Garlic, minced
16
Ounces
Chicken Broth
1
Cup
Anaheim Peppers, stemmed and seeded
1
Cup
Red Cherry Peppers, stemmed and seeded
1
Teaspoon
Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste (* optional)
2
15.5 Ounce Cans
Chick Peas, drained
1
15.5 Ounce Can
Great Northern Beans, un-drained
1
15.5 Ounce Can
Red Kidney Beans, un-drained
   
Flat Italian Parsley, garnish

Method: In a heavy bottom pot on high heat, add olive oil, onions, sirloin, pancetta, peppers, pepperoni, and garlic, stir often. Cook until sirloin is completely cooked, and then add 2 jars of Chef Vito's Fra Diavolo Sauce, the beans, chicken broth, and red pepper flakes. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1-hour. Plate chili and garnish with parsley. Serve with crusty Italian bread or garlic bread.

Other participating chefs included: Chef Sharon Fournier - Gibson Center For Senior Services, Chef Michelle Jones - Abenaki Trail Restaurant & Pub, Chef Henry Boucher - Almost There Sports Tavern, Chef Peter Wawzyniecki - Bentley Brewing Company, Chef Steve Lambert - Bernerhof Inn/Black Bear Pub, Chef Stan Shafer - Deacon Street, and Chef Dave Hausman - Big Dave's Bagels & Deli, who won "Best Chili" from the judges, and also the People's Choice award for "Best Chili." 

Chef Dave Hausman - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Dave Hausman

Amateur Cook-Off - People's Choice Division 

The People's Choice Cook-Off is an "amateur-friendly Cook-Off for non-profits to increase public awareness about their charities and causes." This friendly competition brings out the theatrical with many of the participants donning wild chili-based costumes to inspire fun and gaiety.   

Debra Argen and Edward Nesta - Photo by Luxury Experience
Debra Argen and Edward Nesta
Chili-'in Out

Chef Paula Jones - Arts in Motion Theatre Company went for sweet and heat with her recipe for "Sweet and Sassy Chili" accompanied by "Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread." 

Chef Avi Deiter - The American Cancer Society/Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, sponsored by Stonehurst Manor, presented a "Smoky Prime Rib of Beef and Black Bean Chili" which had medium heat, accompanied by "Smoked Cheddar, Scallion, and Sweet Pickled Pepper Cornbread." Their pretty-in-pink table décor won the People's Choice award for "Most Creative Table" and also for "Best Cornbread." 

Stonehurst Manor- Photo by Luxury Experience
Stonehurst Manor

Chef Jeff Dillion - Mt. Washington Valley Promotions, sponsored by Eastern Propane & Oil) created "Sweet Heat Meat Chili" made with various cuts of steak, ground beef, jalapenos, red chili pepper, habanero pepper, sweet red and yellow peppers, sweet onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, fire roasted tomatoes, stout, maple syrup, dark molasses, dark chocolate, salt pork, various chili powders, cumin powder, salt, black pepper, and beef stock, and listed the heat as "3 flames out of 5." This combination was a winner, earning them a "Third Place" award for their chili.  

Chili Pepper Ear Rings - Photo by Luxury Experience
Festive Attire

Chef Pat Preece and his team - North Conway Fire Department created a "Black Bean Chili" using beef, chorizo sausage, and black beans in their recipe, which had medium heat.    

North Conway Fire Department- Photo by Luxury Experience
North Conway Fire Department and Debra Argen
 

Chef Dawne Gilpatrick - Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm listed her ingredients for "Doc Remick's Chill-Chasing Chili" as: Remick raised bacon, beef, and pork, sweet peppers, chipotle peppers, corn, onions, garlic, salt and pepper, tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, Remick-raised calendula and thyme. For her cornbread, she used cornmeal, flour, Remick-raised eggs, butter, brown sugar, milk, baking powder, salt, PLUS... hand-churned butter and their own maple syrup, with the comment, "It's just what the doctor ordered."  

REmick Country Doctor Museum and Farm - photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Dawne Gilpatrick - Doc Remick Chili

Chef Matt Joyce - Vaughan Community Health, sponsored by Hannaford - went for the exotic with his recipe for "Bison & Chorizo Great Range Chili" presented in a Wild West setting, and won "Second Place" for his chili recipe.

Chef Matt Joyce - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Matt Joyce - Vaughan Community Health

Other participants included: Chef Denise Cook - American Legion Post 46, Chef Steve Irwin - Carroll County RSVP, Chef Christine Albert - Author, Christine Albert, Chefs Karen Gustafson and Terry Zych - Friends of Ambrosia, Chef Ernest Brown - Mt. Washington Valley Art Association, Chef Kimball Packard - The Farmstanders, Chef Bryon Gil - White Mountain Winery, and Chef Jessica Wright - MWV Leadership, sponsored by the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort who was the "First Place" winner of the People's Choice award for "Best Chili."  

Chef Steve Irwin - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Steve Irwin - Carroll County RSVP
 

"The 13th Annual Chili Cook-off was presented by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce with help from sponsors including Eastern Propane as Premier Sponsor, Varsity Beverage, Pepsi as Cayenne Sponsor, Lindt Chocolate, Cabot Cheese, Green Thumb Farm, Ragged Mountain, and Tuckerman Brewing with Horsefeathers, North Conway Community Center and Gibson Senior Center as Host Sponsors."   

The Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire area is a year-round foodie paradise with many gastronomy-centric events, so there is always something to interesting happening to intrigue your palate. 

Foodie Calendar - A Listing of Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire Foodie Adventures  

  Chilly Chili Cook-Off, presented by the MWV Chamber of Commerce: February

•  Chocolate Festival, Presented by Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation: February

•  Strawberry Festival, presented by Vaughan Community Services: June

•  Blueberry Festival, presented by Attitash Mountain: Summer

•  Fields on the Saco at Hardy Farm, Presented by Slow Food Saco Valley: October

•  Inn to Inn Cookie Tour, Presented by Country Inns in the White Mountains: December

Read more about our experiences in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire in the following sections: Gastronomy, Restaurants: Wildcat Tavern, and Highfields at the Eagle Mountain House and Golf Club   and Chefs' Recipes: Chef Bryant Alden Recipes - Wildcat Tavern, and Chef Vanessa Davis Recipes - Highfields Restaurant at Eagle Mountain House and Golf Club.

Mt. Washington Valley Chili Cook Off - NH, USA

For information on Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire, please visit the website: www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call them at: 1-800-367-3364.

For information on the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring & Snowshoe Foundation, please visit the website: www.MWVSkiTouring.org.

For information on visiting New Hampshire, please visit the website: www.VisitNH.gov

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LuxuryExperience.

© April 2016. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved. 

 
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