Pasta focus of this year’s cook-off

Duane Hicks

Are you ready for some pasta?
The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce is taking a break from the chili cook-off format with its first-ever “Pasta Palooza” next month.
“We’re giving the chili cook-off a break for this year because it’s been done for so many years now,” Chamber executive director Jennifer Soderholm said of the event, which is slated for Sept. 27 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. upstairs at the Memorial Sports Centre.
“It’s getting a little difficult, I think, for a lot of the businesses to come up with new ideas [on] how reinvent the chili.
“And last year, we moved it to an evening event and it went over so well that we’re doing it again in the evening this year,” Soderholm added.
“And we thought, if it’s going to be a supper event, it’s really [got] to be worth people coming out for,” she reasoned.
“Not that a bowl of chili isn’t worth coming out for, but something a little more substantial than that.”
The possibilities for pasta dishes are endless. Chefs could prepare spaghetti and meatballs, Asian noodle dishes, macaroni and cheese, or “grandma’s tuna noodle casserole,” said Soderholm.
“We’re not saying what people are to make,” she stressed. “There’s hundreds and thousands of pasta recipes.
“This could be a lot of fun because you never know what people are going to bring.”
Of course, a cook-off can’t take place without participants, and the Chamber has started looking for teams to take part.
Rules and registration forms can be obtained from the Chamber office.
You also can call 274-5773 or e-mail thefort@fortfranceschamber.com
While participants do not have to be affiliated with a local business, Soderholm said the event is a perfect opportunity for those businesses to get themselves out there and meet current or potential clientele on a personal level, outside of the work environment.
Organizers also are asking pasta teams to prepare more food than in the past.
They’re asked to make eight gallons of pasta, as opposed to four gallons of chili.
Last year’s evening time slot proved remarkably popular. In fact, Soderholm said the chili sold out so fast that people had to be turned away long before the event was scheduled to be over.
They don’t want that to happen with “Pasta Palooza.”
Like in past years, patrons will be able to get one bowl or plate of tasty food, or get a sampler, taste all of the pastas, and then vote for their favourite.
Teams will compete for People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards once again.
As well, Flint House already is on board to run the bar for the supper.
“Because what goes better with pasta than a glass of wine?” mused Soderholm.
And the cake roulette hopefully will make a return.
The Fort Frances Lakers have been asked if they want to run it as a fundraiser for the team.