The town’s annual ‘Chili Day in Cutler Bay’ event on Saturday, Jan. 4, brought residents and cooking participants out in spite of drizzly weather.
Presented at Cutler Ridge Park by Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay, the spicy comfort food competition proved as popular as ever with many returning amateur and professional chefs and fans eager to sample the results of their efforts.
“We still had a very large crowd that sampled chili, salsa and cornbread from 14 competitors and another five non-competitive entries,” Parks and Recreation director Alan Ricke said after the event.
“More than 500 votes were cast for the People’s Choice Chili. This year’s fan favorite was ‘The Pink Pig,’ who missed out last year by just eight votes. This year, they won by an even smaller margin — only four votes separated second place from first place.”
On hand to help judge the entries and present the trophies and cash awards were Town Council members Peggy Bell and Sue Ellen Loyzelle, along with Miami- Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell.
“Though the day began with a rainy start it didn’t deter the chili enthusiasts from coming out to Cutler Bay’s fifth annual Chili Day event,” Peggy Bell said. “The chili, salsa, and cornbread this year were the best ever, with new entrants hoping to take the top prize. One of the judges was our own Commissioner Lynda Bell, who was a good sport in tasting all that chili, salsa, and cornbread.”
Peggy Bell said that it was a fun event for everyone, with the live music and other attractions. Plus, all that food sampling had an added advantage for some.
“There was hot food, cold beer and soft drinks to sample while the kids played ball on the soccer field and enjoyed other activities,” Peggy Bell said. “One father, walking around with his children, told me this took care of dinner for them that night. That’s what I call a great town event. I want to thank Parks director Alan Ricke and Fred Bobson for their hard work in making this event so successful each year.”
Town Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle had words of praise for the cook-off as well.
“Chili Day was a great event as always,” Loyzelle said. “Although we got off to a soggy start, the rain cleared up and what a beautiful day it turned out to be. All of the contestants who prepared their finest chili, corn bread and salsa were so passionate about their creations.
“My favorite part of the entire event is seeing all of the families who come out to taste all of the fine food and get to vote for the People’s Choice Award. I would also like to thank the judges who took the time to try all of the food. What a task that was.”
The top finishers were as follows:
1st Place – Country Cornbread
2nd Place – T & W Subs and BBQ
3rd Place – Miami-Dade Firefighters
Local 1403/Ridge Rats
1st Place – Team 305
2nd Place – Miami-Dade Firefighters
Local 1403/ Ridge Rats
3rd Place – Nacho Momma’s Salsa
1st Place – The Hole in the Wall Pub
2nd Place – The Pink Pig
3rd Place – T & W Subs and BBQ
The People’s Choice Chili award went to The Pink Pig, and the Best Firefighter Chili award went to the Key Largo Fire Department.