Onset Bay Association’s Mostly-Annual Chili Contest brings the heat

May 10, 2021

The smell of simmering chilis filled the air at Stone Path Malt on Saturday night at the Onset Bay Association’s Mostly Annual Chili Contest.

Originally scheduled for March 2020, the event was postponed several times, and when it finally happened in May, it served as a first step back into hosting events for the association.

“We’re trying to ease back in gently,” said Kat Jones, the president of the association. “This is our first event back in a long time. We’re excited.”

While the association won’t be hosting the fireworks this year, the group plans to host smaller events throughout the summer.

Six chefs participated in the chili contest, each with their own twist on the classic dish. Attendees used Onset Bay Association frisbees as a make-shift plate on which to carry their sample-size servings of the chili to try before filling out a ballot with their favorites.

Kat Garofoli of the Onset Bay Center cooked up a pork-based chili with fire-roasted peppers with her husband, John. 

“I kind of feel like pork is an underrated ingredient, so it’s nice to give it some attention,” said John Garofoli.

Kat Garofoli said that the pair tried to come up with a unique twist on a classic chili, with lots of “deep flavors.”

Bob Costello, who participates in a number of chili contests, was dressed to impress in a tuxedo with a chili-print mask and tie. 

His recipe included traditional ingredients like pulled pork, pork loin, and ground beef, with a twist: Craisins.

“A lot of people don’t like chili because of the beans,” Costello said. The craisins — dried cranberries — offer a hint of sweetness to the savory dish.

He also handed out mints to each attendee as a sort of palate cleanser, along with a reminder: His chili was number six in the competition, but “number one in your heart.”

Onset Bay Association volunteer Linne Sullivan said that this was her first foray into competitive chili. Her recipe included both chorizo and linguica — a combination she said she discovered when endeavoring to use up leftovers. The combined flavor was so good, she said, that it’s now a go-to in her kitchen. 

“I think I’ll be doing [the competition] from now on because it’s so much fun,” Sullivan said.

Dan Minkle of the Minkle Boys Catering Company entered a traditional chili with help from his fiancée, Nicole Reardon. That recipe — a winner at past chili competitions, Minkle said — is on the catering company’s regular menu. 

The Minkle Boys currently serve up some food at Stone Path Malt, but are in the process of building a real kitchen that will allow them to expand their menu. 

Cathy Longfield, the special events coordinator for the Gleason Family YMCA, was serving up two versions of a vegetarian chili — one with soy-based meat replacement crumbles and one without — with her daughter Emma. Her vegetarian chili won that category last year. 

She found her recipe online, and, having been successful in the past, decided to stick with it.

Kris and Mark Thompson were dishing up what they called “Puff Mama’s Four Bean Chili,” a recipe developed by Kris. They wanted to try something different, and included both sirloin and wild boar in their chili, served with cotija and sour cream. 

Kris Thompson said wild boar tastes sort of like a combination of veal and venison, which works well in chili. The boar was sourced from Crocetti’s in East Bridgewater, which sells exotic meats like boar, ostrich and buffalo alongside butcher shop staples.

Costello won for the best overall chili, while Longfield took home the prize for best vegetarian chili. The Thompsons won best presentation.