Kress, Bombay take chili cook-off title

The chili was named “Pwi-Di-Good.”
And obviously judges Laurie Walsh, Marla Thomson, and Ala Dulas must have thought so, too, as they chose Connie Kress and Angela Bombay of Pwi-Di-Goo-Ziing Ne-Yee-Zhing Advisory Services as this year’s Times Great Chili Cook-off champs last Friday.
“It was cold out, but it was great. A lot of fun,” said Kress, who served up chili with Bombay alongside 11 other teams of chefs in the Times’ parking lot that day.
“It was actually the first time I made chili,” she noted. “I tested it on my two uncles first.”
While reluctant to reveal if the recipe was a family secret or just a shot in the dark, Kress did admit, “I got help from a few people.”
Meanwhile, this year’s People’s Choice award once again went to Rosanne Kellar of the Times, who this year teamed up with co-worker Lincoln Dunn.
They dished out steaming bowls of their out-of-this-world concoction—dubbed “May the ‘Forks’ Be With You” Chili—dressed up as “Star Wars” characters Boba Fett and Princess Leia.
“Winning it is excellent. That’s the prize that really means a lot to me,” Kellar said Friday afternoon.
“I just had so much fun this year. Everybody was into it, and people liked our ‘Star Wars’ theme,” she enthused.
Kellar also noted the pair originally had planned to have a computer by their hot plate playing “Star Wars” DVDs for a true “dinner-and-a-movie experience,” but that just wasn’t possible due to the weather and limited space under the tent.
“I think it’s pretty cool that it’s my first year trying this and we turned out to win this,” said Dunn. “I think it had to be the meat, which was donated by Cornell Farms—that pushed us over the edge.”
He admitted their “Star Wars” attire might have helped attract chili-lovers, too.
“We got a lot of chuckles, smiles, and a few funny looks, as well,” Dunn said. “It livened things up, other people were doing it, too.
“The chili cook-off’s a hoot. It’s also a lot of work.”
Dunn and Kellar also both credited fellow Times staffer Debbie Logan as their creative co-ordinator, which Logan was quick to note was a nice way of naming someone who shed a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in the kitchen the night before the cook-off.
Kellar added a special thanks to Masquerade Costume & Novelty for her “Princess Leia” wig.
Laurie Walsh, of Gillons’ Insurance here, said he had a tough time picking the best chili.
“There was some good chilis, but it gets hard to tell them apart when you’re on chili number nine,” he admitted.
“You have to go back and get more to remember if that was a two or four,” he added. “But regardless of whether the chili got low marks or not, a lot of the chefs really put effort into their presentation.
“If I was invited to do it again, I’d do it.”
Walsh, a self-proclaimed chili fan (and food in general), said he hasn’t been turned off the hot stuff after having to taste all 12 varieties.
“But I can say no one wanted to hang around me at the office Friday afternoon,” he chuckled.
Kress and Bombay received a chili pepper plaque from Fort Frances General Supply, and had their names engraved on the “Chili Bowl” trophy on display at the Times office.
Kellar and Dunn each received various chili-related prizes.
Rounding out this year’s lineup of chili chefs were:
•Todd Hamilton and David Larocque—“Temporary Inferno” (Lakeland Personnel and Security);
•Dr. Bruce Lidkea and staff—“Eye Watering” Chili (Lidkea, Elliott and Lidkea);
•Lu Caul—“LAST (Lu’s As Kicking [as it gets] Secret Tongue-twitching)” Chili (Lu’s Place);
•Micaela Jensen, Darryl Allan, and Donna Anderson—“Hooters” Chili (Town of Fort Frances);
•Kelly Sigurdson—“NorFabulous” Chili (NorFab Trus staff);
•Laurie Nuttal—“Winning Appeal” Chili (Rainy River District Community Legal Clinic);
•Carol Barrell—“Carol’s Cantenna Thundering” Chili (Carol’s Canteen);
•Bart White—“Black Bart’s CTC [Classic Tasty Chill]” (Canadian Tire);
•Dennis Roach—“High Voltage” Chili (DJ Roach Electric); and
•Cheryl Goldamer and Maureen Calder—“MoCherié Potlickin’” Chili (Sunset Country Ford).
Cook-off organizer Susan Martin said this year’s event drew about 340 people. “It went very well. We’re really please considering the weather,” she remarked.
Martin, who has organized the cook-off for the past five years, noted it and the “cake roulette” raised about $1,200, which will be divided between the local Salvation Army and United Native Friendship Centre food banks.