Kiwanis, RLTC tops at chili cook-off
In a first for the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s “Great Canadian Chili Cook-Off,” both of the top chili choices went to first-time participants.
The local Kiwanis Club’s “Lo-Local Kiwanis Chili” won over the chili judges’ stomachs, earning the “Best Chili Award” last Thursday.
“I have always wanted to be in the chili cook-off,” noted Kiwanian Karla Rogozinski, who was the team captain.
“When the date was announced for this year’s cook-off, I brought it up at one of our Kiwanis meetings,” she said.
“They then asked if I would spearhead this project for our club and, of course, I said ‘yes.’
“I was so excited to take part as a Kiwanis member in a great community event,” added Rogozinski, noting the Kiwanis Club is a great organization that gives back to the community, especially to children.
“We sure had fun making the chili . . . lots of giggles and working with great people made a fun evening preparing our winning chili,” she enthused.
The winning chili was made from Rogozinski’s own recipe.
“It is the recipe I have made for my family for years, but I must say over the last few, I have added a few new ingredients to add more flavour and extra nutrition to the ol’ pot of chili,” she noted.
Rogozinski also said there was no taste-testing prior to making the pots and pots of chili for Thursday’s cook-off, which was held at the Legion.
“I guess they trusted me,” she chuckled.
The name “Lo-Local” was chosen to tie in with the theme, “Go Local.”
“Since chili is a Spanish word, we stuck to the Spanish words and our name ‘Lo-Local’ is Spanish for ‘go local,’” explained Rogozinski, adding the beef for their chili was donated by Leon DeGagne Ltd.
“This was a team effort,” she stressed. “Right from picking the name to preparing and cooking the chili to serving the chili.
“We had a blast doing this and hope the Kiwanis Club will be recognized for participating in this event,” Rogozinski added.
“We have lots of fun in all we do and always [are] looking for new members.”
Rainy Lake Tribal Contracting’s “RLT-Chili,” meanwhile, was named the People’s Choice winners by members of the public.
It also was the judges’ second choice.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Shannon King, who prepared the winning chili with RLTC co-workers Steve McNeill and Amanda Smith.
King said she had gotten the recipe on the website allrecipes.com and had made it in the past for her family.
But then input on methods to cook and season the chili was added by all three teammates, she noted.
“It was difficult to take a recipe that you use for your family and blow it up into four gallons,” admitted King, noting the team ended up cooking too much meat and had to freeze it and take it home.
While garnering the “People’s Choice Award” obviously indicated how many people felt about the chili, King said the team also got positive feedback during the event.
“I was really surprised,” she remarked. “Even if you ask my husband, I am not the most experienced cook, and we were entering a cooking contest, so I was really surprised that we had so much feedback.
“But I, myself, found it really tasty.”
King speculated one of the keys to ending up with the tasty chili was that the team used a blend of one-part Italian sausage to two parts hamburger.
“And also, one of the methods from Steve was that you add all of the seasonings the last little while, while the beef is cooking, so that they absorb into the beef,” she revealed.
King noted this is the first time RLTC has competed in the chili cook-off, and it’s likely they’ll enter it again next fall.
“For sure we will try again,” she pledged. “It was a lot of fun and it was nice to get involved in a community event.
“RLTC is a new company.
“We did file everything away under ‘Chili Cook-off,’ so if we do enter again, which I think is the plan, we will have everything at hand,” King added.
“We’ll have a little more experience and not be in the dark,” she chuckled.
The third-place team scored by the judges was “Sweaty Moose Chili” cooked up Seven Generations Education Institute culinary students Kanina Terry and Rachel Fox.
Last year’s chili champs, Holmlund Financial, earned the third-most People’s Choice votes with their “Holmlund’s Heartwarming Chili.”
This year’s other competitors, and their chili, included:
•Marlyss Thiessen—“Volcanic Ash” white chicken chili;
•Seven Generations Education Institute—“Jive Turkey Chili,” “Northern Lights Chili,” and “Toot! Toot! Chili”;
•Team BAM (Katherine Dobie and Pamela Kawulia)—“The Best BAM Chili”; and
•two chili entries from Fort Frances High School students;
With the chili cook-off being the first major event in her new role as Chamber manager, Annely Armstrong said the event went very well.
“Everybody seemed to be in a pretty good mood. It was upbeat and it was lots of fun,” she enthused, noting that only near the end of the cook-off did she have a chance to taste some chili herself.
Armstrong estimated 250 people attended the chili cook-off. As well, some people came and got take-out chili to bring back to their co-workers who couldn’t attend in person.
She noted the Legion and Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary deserve a big thanks for use of the facility, as do Canada Safeway, Gillons’ Insurance, Tim Hortons, and Fort Frances General Supply for donating food, beverages, and the prize plaques.
Armstrong also thanked chili cook-off judges Dave Bishop (93.1 The Border), Laurie Witherspoon (Town of Fort Frances), and Duane Hicks (Fort Frances Times), who had a tough time deciding with so many tasty varieties of chili to choose from.
The annual cook-off also featured the ever-popular cake roulette.
The roulette, which was run by the Robert Moore School Council, raised $382, which will go to the breakfast program there.