Published: Sep 09, 2008 06:12 PM
Modified: Sep 09, 2008 10:11 AM
Chili Saturday, with a side of salsa
Chamber hopes cook-off becomes an annual event
HILLSBOROUGH -- BBQ, move over. Something spicier is coming to town. Long known for its Hog Day barbecue contest, the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce is starting another tradition Saturday with its first annual chili and salsa cooking contest.Restaurateurs and professional cooks will be joined by hobbyists for this event. A panel of three judges will decide first and second place separately for salsa and chili. Those who come out to taste will determine who wins the People's Choice Awards. Five dollars will buy you five tasting tickets, which translates into five 3-ounce cups of chili.Both dishes will be judged on taste, aroma and substance, with presentation also considered, said Margaret Wood Cannell, the chamber's executive director.Chilis will be rated on heat, so tasters be warned. The chili contest is freestyle, with no stipulations on beans or type of meat."It doesn't matter -- just no road kill," Cannell said. "People can put game in it if they came by it legitimately.""We hope we'll be able to do it again as an annual event and have it be so successful we can partner with a nonprofit," she added. Chapel Hill Band Wicked Steep Hill will perform at the event, being held in the Eno River Parking Deck. The private ownership enables the chamber to sell beer there.Today, Sept. 10, is the last day to enter. Several Hillsborough restaurants have signed up.Joe Tullos, owner of the Gulf Rim, on Churton Street, said he will make or assist in making a Gulf Coast-influenced chili. "I'm in it for the fun," he said.Hugo Suentos, manager of the Hillsborough Bandido's Mexican Restaurant, is entering his family's salsa recipe, which is served with corn chips at the four Bandido's owned by his father, Tony Sustaita. The recipe came from Suentos' grandmother, born to Mexican parents in Houston, Texas.With a couple of prizes amassed in food contests in Durham, Suentos said he's "pretty comfortable" the salsa will hold up to local competition.Several of the barbecue contestants from Hog Day are making chili.Harold Wagner Jr. and Jeff Woods, who run the cookers at Hog Day, are among them.They'll be making a Mexican green chili that Wagner learned from his uncle in Colorado. "We love to cook and we love to feed people," Wagner said.But he's not expecting to win because he knows the competition is steep -- Harold Wagner Sr. is also in the running for a traditional beef and bean chili."His is about as good as it comes," Wagner conceded.
Contact Cheryl Sadgrove at 812-1366 or email@example.com.
2008 The Chapel Hill News