Tip your spoon to favorite chili

Nothing warms up a cold day like a bowl of chili — or 24 bowls of chili.

That's one of the attractions of the Fourth Annual Chili Cook-Off to benefit the Alzheimer's Association Feb. 9 at Goonie's Comedy Club in downtown Rochester.

Twenty-four varieties of chili will be offered for tasting.

"People say, 'That's too much chili to eat,'" said Gerise Thompson, director of the Alzheimer's Association Southern Minnesota Regional Center. "But you taste as many of the chilis as you like, sample as much as you want. Find your favorite."

The varieties of chili are prepared by local chefs.


"They're all very different," Thompson said. Some are from restaurants, some are from local housing facilities. The common denominator is they have to have been prepared in a licensed kitchen.

Other than that, anything goes, from vegetarian chili to loaded-with-meat chili, from thick chili to thin chili, from mild to spicy.

"Each entrant is encouraged to bring the accompaniments to go with their chili, whether it's cheese or onion — whatever," Thompson said.

They also decorate their own tables. "Some of the displays are beautiful," Thompson said.

After tasting the chilis, participants vote for their favorites. The awards this year are sponsored by Custom Alarm, which means the award categories get appropriate titles: Fire Alarm (hot), Sprinkler Alarm (medium), False Alarm (vegetarian) and Custom Alarm (people's choice).

Tickets are $15. Last year's event raised $2,500 for Alzheimer's Association programs. Thompson said the goal this year is $3,000.

"It's a great community event," she said. "The room is always packed." And, no doubt, it is nice and warm.

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