Several local businesses will be turning out the heat in support of the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm’s fundraising effort for flood relief.
The club is hosting its first ever Chili Taste Off event as part of the Downtown Salmon Arm Holiday Craft and Farm Market, being held Saturday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ross Street Plaza.
For the event, the club has partnered with Downtown Salmon Arm and five local businesses: Hanoi 36, The Barley Station Brew Pub, Shuswap Pie Co., Pink Cherry and Grillers Meats. Each of the businesses are cooking up their best chili for the public to taste and vote on. Funds raised will go to Rotary BC Flood Relief.
The Observer contacted several of the participants to see what they’re bringing to the table.
“I’ve got a few secret ingredients in there that’s not usually added to a traditional, typical chili,” said Hanoi 36’s Michael Vu, admitting he hasn’t made chili before. “I can’t eat anything that’s spicy. It upsets my stomach.”
Vu was experimenting with a batch though on Dec. 1, and was impressed with the results.
“Every show I watch… when they have a chili cook-off, the guy that wins will always have it so the heat’s not so apparent at first, but it creeps up, it builds up, it slowly makes you sweat – that’s what I’ve got,” said Vu. “I was able to achieve that with the recipe I have and the flavours are nicely balanced.”
Grillers Meats’ Greg Shurey has the advantage of a store full of ingredients to play around with.
“We’re doing some testing – we’re not quite there yet but we’re definitely throwing some ideas around,” said Shurey, not giving anything away other than Griller’s chili will include beef and maybe some Italian sausage.
“We’re going to be disappointed if we don’t win. Put it that way,” laughed Shurey.
The seasoned chili makers at Pink Cherry are confident they’ll will win over taste buds with Nana’s Famous Chili. Rae-lynn O’Connor said the chili is her mother Angie Alde’s recipe, one the family has enjoyed for years, as have the restaurant’s customers. O’Connor says it sells out each Friday.
“(She) has been making it for like, 50 years, so right there we’re bringing that,” laughed O’Connor. “It’s not just a newbie, it’s a veteran. She was famous for her chili up north and now she’s bringing it here.”
O’Connor described Alde’s recipe as a classic ground-beef based chili, with just the right spice and “nothing weird like corn.” She added there was some hesitation about entering the taste-off as Alde recently had surgery and her arm is currently in a sling.
“We were unsure… but I helped her and we got it done,” said O’Connor.
The Rotary Club of Salmon Arm’s Kari Wilkinson anticipates tickets for the taste-off ($15 for one, $25 for two) will sell quickly Saturday morning. After the tasting, Downtown Salmon Arm has set up a voting page on its website where people can vote for their favourite chili. The club will also be selling roasted chestnuts as part of the fundraiser. Cash donations will also be accepted.
“It will be a super fun event – It helps bring the community together and helps show support for people that have been hit hard,” said Wilkinson, noting 98 per cent of the money raised will go towards flood relief in B.C.
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