Chili cook-off spices up Minturn Market |

Chili cook-off spices up Minturn Market

J.K. Perry
NWS Chili Cook off SM 12-10

MINTURN – Mike Hartman’s exotic buffalo, green pork and red beef tenderloin chilis swept all three professional categories at Saturday’s Minturn Market chili cook-off.”Interesting,” Hartman said when he won. “I don’t know what to say. I try to put a lot of love into it. I’m gonna be selling them at my restaurant on Monday.”The owner of Cuisine Catering in Minturn wasn’t overly confident about his chili prior to the scoring by judges, who included this Vail Daily reporter.”There’s some very serious chili cooks out there,” Hartman said.Amateur-category winners included Jeff Kaminski’s green chili and Debbie Duran’s amateur red.”I worked on it for three days,” Duran said. “What can I say, I’m a good cook.”Market-goers putting down the chili at the price of $3 were impressed by the entries. Greg Hill enjoyed one of the red chilis he called “the most like chili.”

“The others are like stews and soups,” he said. “I like beans, meat and lots of chili flavor.”His one-year-old daughter Drew liked one of the sweeter chilis.”Look, you got it on you,” Hill said, pointing at Drew’s stained shirt. “That’s proof you were at the chili cook-off.””I love ’em all,” Pat Nolan said. “It’s sorta like tasting wine – which one is my favorite?”Judging also proved difficult for the judges.”They each have strong points,” Minturn resident Joe Morales said. “Some people might like the sausage or the one with the condiments. It’s hard to pick one.”But Morales knew one thing for sure.”I’m impressed,” he said. “I’m looking forward to next year. Fortunately I know the organizer so I think I’ll be back.”

“I thought without a doubt these were the most amazing chilis I’ve ever encountered,” judge Tony Mauro said. “The amateurs blew me away. There’s some great chili being made in kitchens in the area.”The cook-off was an off-kilter ploy to draw more people to the market.”We wanted to do something different, and we thought ‘Why don’t we have a chili cook-off?’ ” said Town Manager Ann Capela, who entered her Wisconsin chili chock-full of shredded cheese.Even though Graham Veysey – representing Plum TV – didn’t win the competition, he enjoyed watching taster’s responses. “It was good to see everybody react differently to the different climates of chili. There were kids turning red,” Veysey said. “I thought I’d wear the company colors(plum) and help draw more people to the market.”Still, he was disappointed when his condiments didn’t make their way to the judges.”I had all these hot sauces, cheese, sour cream and all of a sudden they just scooped it in there,” Veysey said. “There went the chance at my presentation being king.”

Veysey’s chili was king to Edna and Richard Kerwick of Florida.”Put two votes down for the Plum,” Edna Kerwick said. “We’re from Florida so we’re not used to getting good chili.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or Vail, Colorado

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