NRF&R Chili Feed serves hundreds
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.