82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHOT STUFF: RED THROAT CHILI IS NO. 1

HOT STUFF: RED THROAT CHILI IS NO. 1

Sheets of rain and gusts of wind cut through the middle of the 15th annual Texas Society Chili Cook-Off for about 15 minutes Sunday, but otherwise, a hot time was had by all on the sands of Sapphire Beach, in more ways than one.
Cecil Mallet's Red Throat Chili emerged as the judges' favorite, which would normally mean Mallet would be off to Terlingua, Texas, in November to represent the territory in the annual Chili Appreciation Society International cook-off.
However, Mallet was one of four visiting Texans taking part in the cook-off who came to St. Thomas strictly for that purpose. As only a local resident can represent the Virgin Islands, runner-up Dale Maxwell will take his (and VitelCellular's) Go Chili to Terlingua.
Four of the local cooks were former winners, and their chili concoctions were also judged in a separate "Champion of Champions" competition – with Dennis Murphy and his Senator Berry's Berry Best Chili taking top honors.
In the separate showmanship judging, first place went to John Satko and Gregory Jackson of Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort.
This 15th annual Texas Society of the Virgin Islands Chili Cook-off, to use its proper name, attracted a record 36 entries — 14 returnees, 18 local first-timers and the four Texas visitors. What attracted the Texans was not fun in the sun but a chance at adding to their points to enhance their national standing. Much like race car drivers, hard-core chili cooks travel around a "pot of red" circuit, collecting points for each competition in which they place.
There were almost as many judges — preliminary judges, final judges, showmanship judges and champ of champs judges. The eight whose assignment was the most arduous were the final judges — who weren't called to the table until around 2 p.m. but were under orders not to pre-taste any of the chili being dished up for everyone else from noon on.
Twenty of the entries were eliminated in preliminary judging before the final judging panel ever got a taste – a procedure intended to help preserve relative purity of the final judges' palates, or something like that. In truth, judging overseer Georgeanne "Pepper" Peters confessed as the finals were about to begin, the first round served to "weed out the ones that were mainly tomato sauce."
Those that made the cut were that and a lot more.
Judges had no idea whose chili was before them as they spooned out tastes from containers identified only by numerical codes. They were not allowed, by word or by body language, to convey their opinions to colleagues. And the winners were announced by name, not by number – so the individual judges had no idea whether their personal choices were the ones that emerged on top.
Things the judges did talk about included the following:
A displaced Texan commented, after requesting a cold Dr. Pepper to drink, "When I get to the airport back home, I head for the nearest Taco Bell and a Dr. Pepper. It's really hard to find here."
Two restaurateurs confessed that "This is the only time of the year that I eat chili."
The "no body language" rule was inadvertently broken on a couple of occasions. One jurist was seen mopping her brow after an aftertaste of Chili No. 7, which was laced liberally with an alcoholic ingredient. As cup No. 8 made the rounds, someone commented, "We're halfway through," provoking nervous laughter around the tables.
Each judge awarded a composite numerical ranking of 1 to 10 covering five categories – aroma, red color, texture consistency, taste and aftertaste.
Most cooks opted to use the free beef provided by a sponsor, shredding or dicing it, but a few supplied their own ground beef. To at least one judge, as the cups were passed, the countless cubes afloat in seas of seasoned sauce took on more and more the look of premium canned dog food. But the smells and the tastes were something else.
"The entries are the best this year that I've tasted at a cook-off," one veteran judge said. "There is some really mean chili here."
While the judges pontificated in air-conditioned comfort, the sweating masses consumed chili pretty much all afternoon under the sweltering sun. And quaffed cold beer, water and sodas. And tried their luck at watermelon seed-spitting, jalapeno eating and a tug-of-war. And bought T-shirts. (Only the early-birds got the crop-top model, which was new but proved so popular that the four dozen ordered were history in the first hour, Peters said.)
This year, cooks were instructed to prepare more chili than in prevous cook-offs — at least four gallons each. As a result, very few scraped the bottom of the pot until at least mid-afternoon.
And the winners were:
Chili – 1. Cecil Mallet, Red Throat Chili; 2. Dale Maxfield, Go Chili (VitelCellular); 3. Kay Mallet, Cajan Kay; 4. Donna Leird; 5. Kevin Foley, Bend Over Chili; 6. Donna Rusher (Aramark Food Service at Roy L. Schneider Hospital); 7. Kathy Venneti, Miss Penelope's Chili (Wags to Whiskers); 8. Anna Clarke (Toad and Tart); 9. Michael Weak, Hemingway's; 10. Donna Smith (Polli's).
Champion of Champions – Dennis "Tex" Murphy, Senator Berry's Berry Best Chili.
Showmanship – 1. John Satko and Gregory Jackson, Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort; 2. Barb McDonald and Greg Krivdo, U.S. Coast Guard; 3. Sisters Ashley, Shaina and Samantha Pomeranz and their mother, Doris Pomeranz, with Pomerosa Chili.
Funds raised at the event will be benefit the Queen Louise Home for the Aged, American Red Cross local chapter, Dial-A-Ride, Family Support Network, Kidscope, St. Thomas Rescue, St. Thomas Swimming Association, and V.I. Institute of Performing Arts.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Sheets of rain and gusts of wind cut through the middle of the 15th annual Texas Society Chili Cook-Off for about 15 minutes Sunday, but otherwise, a hot time was had by all on the sands of Sapphire Beach, in more ways than one.
Cecil Mallet's Red Throat Chili emerged as the judges' favorite, which would normally mean Mallet would be off to Terlingua, Texas, in November to represent the territory in the annual Chili Appreciation Society International cook-off.
However, Mallet was one of four visiting Texans taking part in the cook-off who came to St. Thomas strictly for that purpose. As only a local resident can represent the Virgin Islands, runner-up Dale Maxwell will take his (and VitelCellular's) Go Chili to Terlingua.
Four of the local cooks were former winners, and their chili concoctions were also judged in a separate "Champion of Champions" competition - with Dennis Murphy and his Senator Berry's Berry Best Chili taking top honors.
In the separate showmanship judging, first place went to John Satko and Gregory Jackson of Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort.
This 15th annual Texas Society of the Virgin Islands Chili Cook-off, to use its proper name, attracted a record 36 entries -- 14 returnees, 18 local first-timers and the four Texas visitors. What attracted the Texans was not fun in the sun but a chance at adding to their points to enhance their national standing. Much like race car drivers, hard-core chili cooks travel around a "pot of red" circuit, collecting points for each competition in which they place.
There were almost as many judges -- preliminary judges, final judges, showmanship judges and champ of champs judges. The eight whose assignment was the most arduous were the final judges -- who weren't called to the table until around 2 p.m. but were under orders not to pre-taste any of the chili being dished up for everyone else from noon on.
Twenty of the entries were eliminated in preliminary judging before the final judging panel ever got a taste - a procedure intended to help preserve relative purity of the final judges' palates, or something like that. In truth, judging overseer Georgeanne "Pepper" Peters confessed as the finals were about to begin, the first round served to "weed out the ones that were mainly tomato sauce."
Those that made the cut were that and a lot more.
Judges had no idea whose chili was before them as they spooned out tastes from containers identified only by numerical codes. They were not allowed, by word or by body language, to convey their opinions to colleagues. And the winners were announced by name, not by number - so the individual judges had no idea whether their personal choices were the ones that emerged on top.
Things the judges did talk about included the following:
A displaced Texan commented, after requesting a cold Dr. Pepper to drink, "When I get to the airport back home, I head for the nearest Taco Bell and a Dr. Pepper. It's really hard to find here."
Two restaurateurs confessed that "This is the only time of the year that I eat chili."
The "no body language" rule was inadvertently broken on a couple of occasions. One jurist was seen mopping her brow after an aftertaste of Chili No. 7, which was laced liberally with an alcoholic ingredient. As cup No. 8 made the rounds, someone commented, "We're halfway through," provoking nervous laughter around the tables.
Each judge awarded a composite numerical ranking of 1 to 10 covering five categories - aroma, red color, texture consistency, taste and aftertaste.
Most cooks opted to use the free beef provided by a sponsor, shredding or dicing it, but a few supplied their own ground beef. To at least one judge, as the cups were passed, the countless cubes afloat in seas of seasoned sauce took on more and more the look of premium canned dog food. But the smells and the tastes were something else.
"The entries are the best this year that I've tasted at a cook-off," one veteran judge said. "There is some really mean chili here."
While the judges pontificated in air-conditioned comfort, the sweating masses consumed chili pretty much all afternoon under the sweltering sun. And quaffed cold beer, water and sodas. And tried their luck at watermelon seed-spitting, jalapeno eating and a tug-of-war. And bought T-shirts. (Only the early-birds got the crop-top model, which was new but proved so popular that the four dozen ordered were history in the first hour, Peters said.)
This year, cooks were instructed to prepare more chili than in prevous cook-offs -- at least four gallons each. As a result, very few scraped the bottom of the pot until at least mid-afternoon.
And the winners were:
Chili - 1. Cecil Mallet, Red Throat Chili; 2. Dale Maxfield, Go Chili (VitelCellular); 3. Kay Mallet, Cajan Kay; 4. Donna Leird; 5. Kevin Foley, Bend Over Chili; 6. Donna Rusher (Aramark Food Service at Roy L. Schneider Hospital); 7. Kathy Venneti, Miss Penelope's Chili (Wags to Whiskers); 8. Anna Clarke (Toad and Tart); 9. Michael Weak, Hemingway's; 10. Donna Smith (Polli's).
Champion of Champions - Dennis "Tex" Murphy, Senator Berry's Berry Best Chili.
Showmanship - 1. John Satko and Gregory Jackson, Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort; 2. Barb McDonald and Greg Krivdo, U.S. Coast Guard; 3. Sisters Ashley, Shaina and Samantha Pomeranz and their mother, Doris Pomeranz, with Pomerosa Chili.
Funds raised at the event will be benefit the Queen Louise Home for the Aged, American Red Cross local chapter, Dial-A-Ride, Family Support Network, Kidscope, St. Thomas Rescue, St. Thomas Swimming Association, and V.I. Institute of Performing Arts.