Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Chili Part Deux: My Take

(Posted by Bill) First off, I'm not that bad of a photographer. While I do not have the artistic flair that Shelley possesses with photography (I'm more of a photojournalist), I've taken more than my share of photos over the years (heck, for quite a while, I was Abby-Normal's band photographer ;-). I'm actually more surprised that I didn't take two shots, just to be certain (anyone with kids understands this). To add insult to injury, Shelley left the camera, so that I could take some pix of the event. The camera went into my back pocket, and that's the last I thought about it. No pix of any of the other contestants, many of who are some of the area's great chefs that we're fortunate to know. The cook-off is such a fun event every year. So many people work hard to make it a success. Being held at "The Place Formerly Known as the Jake" makes it even more special. My Barracho recipe has been pretty stable over the past couple of years, with a little variation due to available ingredients. I swapped the pork shoulder with braised pork cheeks (thanks, Chaty!), along with chorizo (not homemade this year), and roasted peppers in pinto bean gravy. I had just enough corn bread pudding for the five gallons of chili that I served. I ran out just a little after 8p, and went downstairs to try a few bites of chili from Momocho and ML the Restaurant. Both Chefs Nolan Konkoski and Michael Longo turn out some of my perennial favorites. I also really liked the veggie chili from Mike Piazza (no, not the Met, but the chef, who I just met). Anyway, I had a pretty good feeling that I would win something, as the dish was pretty solid, and I was getting a lot of good buzz. Still, competition was really tough. Then, someone mentioned that I should "stick around". So, when the winner of amateur "non-traditional" was being described, I started smiling, as I realized it was me. Naturally, I was so absent-minded, that I didn't even set down my ice-cold Corona, and I'm holding it in the award photo with Diane and Brian, with the trophy behind us (d'oh!). I walked back, and started texting Shel that I won. I was in mid-text when I heard my name announced again! Best Overall Amateur. I was overwhelmed. At least I wasn't holding my beer in that photo! I then got to have a real celebratory beer (Commodore Perry IPA) at GLBC with RRBC Brewer Extraordinaire Matt Cole (who took 2nd Place, non-trad. with GLBC's own Luke Purcell). Matt shares an affinity for many of my favorite Cali Ales, including the "other" RRBC. Cheers, guys!

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