Chilli cook-off will be hot stuffBy Sally Bryant
June 06, 2011
A passion for chilli con carne and cult cartoon The Simpsons has prompted a Reading man to launch a culinary first in the town.
Jon Doody is organising the First Annual Reading Chilli Cook-Off and seven teams threw their toques into the ring as soon as entries were invited.
The red-hot contest will take place in the gardens of the College Arms pub in Wokingham Road on Saturday, August 6. The Reading Post and Wilton Road-based Effective Print Solutions are sponsoring it.
Post deputy editor Hilary Scott and Tutu Melaku, of Tutu’s Ethiopian Table at RISC fame, will be among the judges.
And 43-year-old Mr Doody, a senior analyst programmer for Prudential, is so convinced the American custom will please British palates he is already planning next year’s spicy showdown.
The www.chilligonebarmy.com website went live last Wednesday.
Mr Doody said: “Seven teams have entered already – some from Hampshire, three from Reading and one from Milton Keynes. People are so enthused, it’s a life mission to get a good chilli and there is something competitive in each of us. People are willing to travel and I want this to go on and be bigger each year.”
He said there was room for 20 teams.
Mr Doody has been a committed chilli fan and cook for more than 25 years. A classic episode of The Simpsons, where Homer hallucinates after eating Chief Wiggum’s chilli at the Springfield cook-off, fired his enthusiasm even further.
But a search for a cook-off to attend and perhaps enter here proved fruitless – and the idea for the Reading event was born.
Mr Doody said: “I bandied the idea around with friends and the enthusiasm was incredible, so I decided to go for it.”
Entries can be individual or team, participants must be prepared to cook from scratch outdoors and stick to the rules, which include no marinating and no commercial chilli mixes.
Stoves will light up at noon and by 4pm, each head chef will have to produce at least a gallon of chilli and the all-important tasting cupful for the judges. Anyone wanting to join in can email firstname.lastname@example.org.