(William Clark, Director of Dining Services, ATK) It was a cool, crisp morning in Mt. Airy MD on the morning of April 20th. Three Chefs in Black CSG Chef coats stand on the nearly deserted Mt. Airy Main Street. Over sips of hot coffee One Chef turns to the others and says, “Good day for making chili”. The others nod their heads and get to work.
Thousands From All Over the Country Attend Mt. Airy Chili Cook Off
On April 20th, 2013 Culinary Services Group participated in the 8th Annual Main Street Heat Chili Cook Off. This event was sponsored and sanctioned by the International Chili Society, with proceeds being donated to the Four County Lions Club.
Thousands of “Chili-Heads” descended on this small Maryland town toting hungry bellies and spoons held high. Culinary Services Group was fortunate to be in attendance. (Click here to see local news coverage of the event, which attracted competitors and chili fans from all over the country…)
This was CSG’s first showing at the Mt. Airy competition, and they were joined by 29 other competitors. The competitors hailed from all over the country with one traveling all the way from Palm Springs, California to compete in Chili Events which included; Standard Red Chili, Chili Verde, Salsa, and Peoples Choice Home-Style Chili (the only chili allowed to contain beans). Some competitors chose to enter only one or two judging categories, but CSG represented in all four.
Representatives from Culinary Services Group include:
- Rich Valway (President)
- Terra Valway (Director of Finance)
- Denise Greenfield (AP Coordinator)
- Will Clark (Food Service Director – ATK)
- Mike Sudine (Chef du Cuisine – ATK & North Carolina Properties)
- Ryan Warnick (Chef in Training)
- John Dressel (Food Service Director – Springwell)
- Ashley Valway was present to support the team as well.
Strong Showing For Rookies to Chili Cook-Off Competition
Though rookies in the Chili Cook-Off world, CSG had a strong showing. First Place in the Traditional Red Chili category is by far the most coveted accolade in the Chili Competition World, however, a first place win in any category earns its recipient entry into the World Chili Cook-Off Competition being held this year in Palm Springs, California. It is a goal of CSG Competition Team to represent Culinary Services Group in this event.
- In the Traditional Red Chili category, CSG placed solidly in the middle of the pack at the ranking of 12th place.
- In the Chili Verde Category, CSG ranked 4th place.
- In the Salsa competition CSG ranked 2nd place.
- Additionally Culinary Services Group won an ancillary award in “Best Booth”, once again showing that CSG has the innate ability to warm and charm the masses.
When the event was over Team Representative, Will Clark, was able to view the judges comments. Will Clark also met Steve Falkowski, the 1997 World Champion, who upon Will’s request was happy to taste the CSG entries and share opinions, tips, and best practices.
“Simple changes… small tweaks here and there is all that is needed to put these chilies over the top”, says Falkowski, “…this [Chili] is so close to the mark, that with a few minor adjustments it will win first place for sure”.
Though CSG did not take the top prize, assuring a trip to the Chili World Finals, all is not lost for the young up and comers. CSG Competition Team has three more Chili events lined up and is excited to prove themselves in both the regional and world arenas.