by Josh Gross
Eighteen organizations brought their best family recipes and half-cocked culinary schemes to the a blustery parking lot in Hyde Park on Feb. 25 for the inaugural Hyde Park Chili Cookoff.
Offerings included standard chilis with beans, tomatoes and spices, and more experimental stews made with coconut milk and Portuguese sausage, as well as one made by a team of firefighters from Idaho City that included deer, elk, hominy, fennel and licorice.
For $10, attendees got taster cups of all the chilis, along with a ticket for a beer and a raffle. They also had the option to vote for their favorites and a team of judges were on hand to hand out honors. Boise Weekly publisher and native Texan Sally Freeman served on the chili judging panel.
Tunes for the event were available in a heated tent packed full of kids from Boise Rock School.
Mike Morrison, owner of the 13th Street Pub and Grill, helped put together the event as a fundraiser for Alzheimers Idaho, an organization started by one of Morrison's friends. Though he didn't yet have the numbers for the event, Morrison said he hoped it would raise $5,000.
But why a chili cookoff? Morrison said beyond being a good cause, it was the perfect event for a blustery time of year.