Food & Drink


by Jenna Wilson
2013 chilifest judging via

2013 chilifest judging via

With wintertime in full swing, I have been craving every kind of comfort food to keep me warm on these cold days. There is nothing I have been wanting more though, than a nice bowl of steaming, flavorful chili that makes me forget about the blistering wind that’s unavoidable once you walk outside. While soup may be others’ go-to meal during winter, chili is mine. It gives me everything that I want in one bowl – meat, broth, veggies, spices and happiness – that I will go out of my way to find the best despite how cold it might be outside.

Luckily, the NYChiliFest has impeccable timing and has come to save me from wandering these cold streets in search of my favorite dish. This Sunday, January 26th, the festival is back for another year of beef, beer and bragging rights. Taking over Chelsea Market, the hall will be filled with as much chili and beer that can be handled from over 20 chefs from around the city. Bringing together the city’s best all under one roof, restaurants like Butter, The Dutch, Jimmy’s No. 43, Mokbar, and Bubby’s Highline will serve their chili creations and vie for the coveted Golden Chili Mug for best of the night.

Not only will the competition be fierce, but this year’s judges know their beef and know it well. The participants will be cooking for Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger, Martin Tessarzik whose company Wrighteous Organics supplied the beef for the event, and Food Network personality Amanda Freitag. They will be the ultimate decision-makers of this chili-off and will be very hard to impress. With past winners including The Brooklyn Star, La Palapa (both back for this year’s fest!) and Northern Spy Food Co., the competing chefs have some history to live up to.

What will be the most exciting part of the night is being able to taste all of the different takes on the classic dish, since there will be a variety of chefs from all kinds of backgrounds and cuisines. With chefs from Los Tacos No. 1 to Mokbar to Pies N’ Thighs, no chili will be created equal. Even though the base of the dish will be the same (Dickson Farmstand Meats will be supplying the beef for the competition), every chili will bring a unique flavor to the table depending on the chef and their culinary background. To match these culinary creations, Sam Adams is offering their own brews to pair with the chili samples that will be served. The Boston company has hand picked four of their beers that they feel best complement chili as a dish, and will be pouring these at stations around the Market.

With good brews, some night music and the best chili all under one roof, ChiliFest should subdue my craving for a little while. I’ll just have to wait until Sunday to find out.

Sunday, January 26th
Chelsea Market
Tickets available for advanced purchase only, will not be available at the door.