New England Regional Chili Cook
One of the many surprises that THT received while in NM was an e-mail from Michael Freedman, AKA Mad Mike in the chili world. He asked THT if we would become vendors and to judge some competitions at the New England Regional Chili Cook off, NERCC for short, on Saturday Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2007) to help benefit a very worth wild cause, the Enfield Food Shelf. After speaking to Mad Mike, THT decided to join in all the fun and festivities of the afternoon. Please read below for all the information containing to NERCC from the history to admission fees.
The New England Regional Chili Cook off has a very long and (personal) storied history. It started in 1985 as a small district event in Somers,CT (much smaller than a Regional or State Cook off). In 1990 it became a State Chili Cook off and then in 1993 it became a “Back to Back” cook off, which is a 2 day event. One day was the CT State and the next day was the New England Regional Chili Cook off. Around 1998 the sanction was lost due to a change of venue to a group in Ma.
This past December while at a chili cooks Xmas party, we’d heard that the MA people didn’t have a location any more. The very next day, we contacted the International Chili Society (the governing organization) people and begin the long but rewarding process of becoming the New England Regional Chili Cook off.
I alluded earlier to personal storied history. Our oldest son, Joshua (aka Big Moo…you will meet him at the cook off) participated at this very cook off as a very young kid. He was “Little Mr. Hot sauce” many years and played his sax to get votes. He and his sister Sarah (aka Wild Thang) both became “Foodies” due to these events. Moo just graduated from Johnson and Wales in RI, so….for all of our family and extended family….this is BIG for us to be the organizers!
In the past 2 years, my wife, Kat (aka Mad Kat) has won the NJ State Red Championship! She did it as a Rookie Cook. That has never happened before for a woman…so she made history! NOTHING gave me more joy than to see my baby on the stage with “The Big Dogs”….it was a very short 2 weeks after my mom had passed and Kat said she had an angel on her shoulder. I cried.
She also won Millvile, NJ Red and The MA State Red as well. I cooked chili for 20 years…and never won anything, but we always had a great time! However, all that changed when I met and married Kathy. I started winning. I have in the past 2 years won,the Pocono Mountain Red cook off, five 2nd places in Red last year and then I won the Maine State Red….the following week, I won an invitational chili cook off in CT. Being married to Kat has brought me luck, I guess.
The non profit that benefits from this event is one of the neediest I have ever worked with. The very 1st meeting we had was at their offices. I have more stuff in my cabinets than they did. T hey are a small but dedicated group of people that help so many in our town. They serve approximately 300 families a week. All on donations……they are as tenacious as I am…so this was a good match.
Admission to the event is $5.00 and 2 canned goods. We’ll have 2 -3 bands and music for kids. There will be face painting for the kids and TONS of chili. We’ll have close to 30 chili cooks from 7 different states. Hotels in the area are: The Crowne Plaza. www.cpenfield.Com They are our host hotel and will have a reception for the cooks, family and others the night before the cook off. To get a cheaper rate, ask the “park and fly” rate. The other good hotel is Red Roof Inn. They are located in Enfield, CT just off of route 91, use code B105000767-group name is New England Regional Chili Cook off. Call 800-733-7663 for reservations.
The NERCC web site is http://chilict.tripod.com/ where you can get all the HOT info.
*NERCC is still looking for some chili cooks to enter the cook off. If you think you have the best chili recipe around, stop your boasting and prove it by contacting Michael Freedman at MADMIKESKILLERCHILI@COX.NET for more information on entering the NERCC.
**Anyone wanting to become a vendor at NERCC, please contact Michael Freedman at MADMIKESKILLERCHILI@COX.NET.