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Kettle Moraine municipal chili cookoff on Sunday to benefit food pantry

Municipal reps cookoff for a good cause

Nov. 7, 2012

Spoons will collide and aprons might get a bit messy as local municipalities face off in the fourth annual Municipal Chili Cook-off from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Kettle Moraine High School, 349 N. Oak Crest, Wales.

Village of Wales President Jeff Flaws explained that the goal of the event is to raise as many donations as possible for local food pantries for Thanksgiving. This year, organizers are hoping to fill eight barrels of food, which they have gotten close to doing in the past. It's about helping local food pantries; "that's the principal focus of this," said Flaws.

Additionally, "we're looking to provide a community situation where we can get a diverse group of people from different organizations and communities to have some fun and do some good at the same time," Flaws added. For everyone who comes, "I hope they feel good about doing some good and hope they have a good time."

The cookoff is open to any municipal employee or elected official and their spouse. This year's contestants are from the Villages of Wales, North Prairie, Dousman, Summit and the Towns of Genesee, Waukesha and Ottawa as well as the City of Delafield. Judging will be done by the public. Chili entries will be divided into the following categories: mild, hot, vegetarian, wild game or white (chicken, turkey, etc.) Winners will be determined in two categories: individual and overall municipality.

Beverages and desserts will be available for purchase. Food and proceeds from this event will be donated to local food pantries to help feed families in need this holiday season.

Wales Clerk Gail Tamez said that between 300 and 500 chili tasters attend the fundraiser each year. Last year enough food to fill six and a half barrels and enough money to provide 25 people with gift cards to purchase a turkey was donated.

Spicy competition

The heat isn't found just in the chili; contestants take their chili quite seriously.

North Prairie Police Chief Sal Tamez has been a participant in the cookoff since the beginning and said that he has won something every year. Sal's preferred category is the wild game category. He catches the wild game he uses in his chili, including the venison he will use in his entry this year.

"I might just throw my hat in the ring on the white chili, just because I've never done it," Sal said. He said it would be nice to win in that category, especially since he has never made a white chili before. "It's going to be my goal to be beat Jeff's white chili with my white chili," he added confidently.

When asked if the chili cookoff causes any tension between him and his wife Gail, the Village of Wales clerk, Sal said that "North Prairie dethroned her last year and took the trophy away. We're going to see if we can't keep the trophy and upset the teakettle." Hopefully she leaves that at the office, not home, Sal added with a light-hearted laugh.

"Each year I try to find a new recipe and maybe a new category," Flaws explained. This year he is going to enter the veggie chili category.

Flaws said his goal for this year is to "to draw out the opposition." He is a past winner in the white chili category and for the most overall votes.

He explained that "it isn't enough to show up just with your chili;" often table décor and chef apparel are factored into the judges' decisions.

Since he likes to cook anyway, Flaws stated, "I also do some basic research going into this." He looks to his cooking magazines for tips and ideas.

City of Delafield Park and Recreation Commissioner Pat Barwig is prepared for a second year of competition, this year competing in the white chili competition. "I want to beat everybody in the white chili. I want to be the grand mistress in the white chili."

Last year she did a basic white and red chili. "This year I have an even better plan for my chili." Does this mean she has a secret weapon? "You bet I do. I think it might be a winner." Will she give up her secret? No. "There are people who would steal your secret in this group," Barwig said.

So who is her biggest threat? Seeing as how Barwing said that Gail said she was going to beat her, "I'm feeling sort of obliged to take her on."

As for the "amateur" competitors he is competing with, Flaws concludes that "we do understand that they have limited aspirations based on our expertise."

For more information or to donate, contact the Wales Village Hall at (262) 968-3968.

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