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NRF&R Chili Feed serves hundreds

New Richmond Fire & Rescue firefighters serve up bowls of chili as a massive line snakes through the fire hall on Saturday, April 12, for the NRF&R Chili Cook-off and Chili Feed. More than $5,000 was raised for the department to purchase a new thermal imaging camera. (Photo by Micheal Foley)1 / 5
Wes Yolcum (left) poses with New Richmond Fire & Rescue Chief Jim VanderWyst and the plaques he earned Saturday, April 12, at the NRF&R Chili Cook-off. Yolcum won first place in the Medium category and also took home the Judges Choice Award for his Cozumel Pollo Frijoles chili recipe. (Photo by Micheal Foley)2 / 5
Team BBD members Adam Schauls (left), Michael Godbout and Jeff Fontano, pose with New Richmond Fire & Rescue Chief Jim VanderWyst as he hands them the first-place plaque for the Hot category Saturday, April 12, at the NRF&R Chili Cook-off. (Photo by Micheal Foley)3 / 5
Jestin and Crystal Zacharias representing the Clayton Fire Department pose with New Richmond Fire & Rescue Chief Jim VanderWyst as he hands them the first-place plaque in the Mild category Saturday, April 12, at the NRF&R Chili Cook-off. (Photo by Micheal Foley)4 / 5
This year’s New Richmond Fire & Rescue Chili Cook-off drew 33 competitors, each of which prepared one gallon of chili for the event. (Photo by Micheal Foley)5 / 5

Hundreds of people turned out for the fifth annual New Richmond Fire & Rescue Chili Cook-off and Chili Feed at the fire hall on Saturday, April 12.

Judges had their hands — and bellies full — with 33 chilis entered into this year’s cook-off. Chilis were separated into Mild, Medium and Hot categories for judging.

Wes Yolcum of rural New Richmond took the top spot in the Medium category, and he also earned the prized Judges Choice Award for use of unusual ingredients and creativity.

Yolcum’s recipe, called Cozumel Pollo Frijoles, was made with garlic chicken, a southwest base, chicken, beans, cheese and spices.

“It’s a southwestern chicken chili,” Yolcum said. “It’s got huge amounts of flavor, and it’s a different flavor than what most would expect out of a chili.”

Yolcum said he and his friend Jay Jones developed the chili recipe together eight years ago, and he credited his wife for urging him to sign up for the cook-off.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even be here,” Yolcum said. “She’s been nagging me to bring the chili down, so I brought it down.”

Jestin and Crystal Zacharias representing the Clayton Fire Department took the top spot in the Mild category.

Team BBD from the White Bear Lake, Minn., area, made up of Adam Schauls, Michael Godbout and Jeff Fontano, earned first place in the Hot category with a chili made from all elk meat with rehydrated chipotle peppers for heat.

“It’s a jalapeno that’s dried and smoked and reconstituted in beer and a jalapeno-infused vodka,” Schauls said.

Though it won the cook-off’s Hot category, the group said it’s not the sort of hot that makes you run for your drink.

Runners-up were Theresa Bueno in the Hot category, Clint Clay in the Medium category and Theresa Chicill in the Mild category.

Once the cook-off judging was completed, the chili feed portion of the event got underway as hundreds of people gave a free will donation and joined a line that snaked through the fire hall. Each person got their turn for a scoop or two of the various chilis submitted for judging as well as the fire department’s own recipe. Condiments, side dishes and desserts were also served up, and drinks were sold. The firefighters also raised money with several silent auction items and multiple raffles.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne, who also serves as a NRF&R firefighter, said the event raised at least $5,000 and money was still coming in.

The fire department will use the funds to purchase a new thermal imaging camera to help firefighters see heat through walls.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
(715) 243-7767 x241
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