NEWRY, Maine ??вЂќ Judges for the 16th annual Eat the Heat Chili Cook-off competition will begin tasting just as firefighters wrap up a ski race in full firefighting gear on Sunday, March 19. Professional chefs and celebrated home cooks from up and down east coast are invited to take part in the cook-off, and up to 20 teams of 5 members each will compete in the firefighters race.
The Firefighters’ Race beginning at 11:00 a.m. requires each team to race down the Tempest trail in GS format for the fastest time. The added challenge to this event requires each team member to dress in full firefighting gear, while as a team carrying 50 feet of fire hose down the mountain. Registration is $150 per team and will take place the day of the race at 8:00 a.m. on the second floor of the White Cap Lodge.
Shawn Martin, owner of Thatcher’s Restaurant and Pub has won the contest for the last 3 years. “We’ve always enjoyed coming to the event and usually bring a busload of people with us. We love the friendly crowd up there and it’s for a great cause, but I’ve been so busy with 3 new additions to my family in the past 4 years that I’ll only have the time to be a spectator this year.”
The “Eat the Heat” cook-off judging will begin at noon on Sunday, and samples of the Chili will go on sale at 12:15. The judges will include local TV news personalities who will base their decisions on aroma, flavor, presentation, balance and people’s choice. There will be prizes for first through third place winners as well as a People’s Choice Award. Admission is free for spectators and chili samples will sell for $1.00 each. Registration for the cook-off is $30 including a t-shirt, and discounted $40 lift tickets are available to participants’ family members. Restaurants and interested parties can call (207) 824-5084 to register.
The only rules for the event are that contestants must make five gallons of chili on-site from scratch with no pre-cooked or commercially packaged ingredients. Cooking the chili is restricted to gas stoves and grills with no exceptions.
All proceeds from the Firefighters’ Race and the Eat the Heat Chili Cook-off will go to Maine Handicapped Skiing. Maine Handicapped Skiing is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing those with physical disabilities the opportunity to take on new challenges in a supportive and safe environment. More information is available at www.skimhs.com.