Chili cook-off was hot event on a cool day

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Sean McCreary is pictured with his Volkswagen used for preparing and serving chili.

The Town of Cutler Bay’s second annual chili cookoff, “A Chili Day in Cutler Bay,” was a big hit, make no beans about it.

The Jan. 8 event at Cutler Ridge Park, 10100 SW 200 St., drew a huge crowd and pleased Parks and Recreation director Alan Ricke with the way it all turned out.

“We estimate the crowd at around 600, twice as many as last year,” Ricke said. “There were over 400 votes cast for the People’s Choice Chili award, and there were over 7,000 samples of chili, salsa and cornbread gobbled down during the day.”

In addition to individuals, restaurants and teams, three fire departments were represented: Miami-Dade County as well as the cities of Coral Gables and Hialeah.

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall said he thought that everything came together to make the event perfect for those attending.

“I am not sure who called up the weather for Saturday’s chili cook-off, but thank you to whatever higher power made that request,” MacDougall said. “The only thing hot about the day was the chili, and the only thing cold was the beer. It was a perfect day in Cutler Bay. Many thanks to all those who volunteered their culinary talents.”

Councilmember Peggy Bell agreed with his assessment and thought that it was a great way for the community to get together.

“What a wonderful Chili Day!” Bell said. “It was a perfect day for good food, friends, and music. Once again our town proves it is ‘numero uno’ in providing great free entertainment for our community. This event was twice as well attended as last year.

“Some teams came from all areas of the county; others were from down the block. My family cooked their “bison” chili and will now be inspired to compete next year, with any winnings going to charity, of course.”

The results of the 2011 Cutler Bay Chili Cook Off, Open Division, are as follows:

Chili: First place, Team Substantial; second, Goldberg Automotive, and third, Cipriano’s Deli.

Salsa: First place, Boom Boom Chili; second, Miami-Dade Fire, and third, Home Grown Chili.

Corn Bread: First place, Boom Boom Chili; second, Blackies Best Gourmet Pepper Sauce, and third, Mommy & Squirt.

People’s Choice Chili: Boom Boom Chili.

Best Decorated Booth: Boom Boom Chili

Firefighters Division: Coral Gables Fire Department.

Mayor MacDougall had praise for everyone who participated and worked to bring about the event, and was optimistic about future cook-offs.

“The activity Saturday was just the type of event that we had envisioned for our town,” MacDougall said. “All the families that participated truly had a good time. From the little kids playing and eating, to the adults just chatting with old friends, everyone was having a great time.

“I want to thank our parks department and say thank you to all who participated,” he added. “The most often spoken comment I heard was, ‘I can’t wait to see how we can top this next year.’ But, we will!”

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