BANGOR, Maine — Armed with crockpots full of their best chili or chowder, roughly 40 professional and amateur chefs faced off Saturday night for a cook-off.
Though the competition was fierce, it was all in good fun and for a good cause — the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Maine.
Organized by Bangor Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 772, the fifth annual Chili and Chowder Cook-off — held this year at Hollywood Casino, Hotel & Raceway — raised $6,300 for research and services for kids and adults with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases that weaken muscle strength and limit mobility.
The event drew about 350 people, who for a $10 admission fee, could sample their way through about 40 entries submitted by restaurants, local institutions and home cooks.
Laura York, whose husband is Bangor Firefighter John York, was among those who turned out for the contest.
Among her favorites was the chowder entered by the Bacon Tree of Winterport.
“Lobster-bacon-corn chowder — what more could you want?” she said.
Bangor Firefighter Brent Grover entered his dish called “strombi,” a beefy, cheesy concoction with a mild burn that he often makes at the firehouse.
During the event, host Hollywood Casino’s General Manager Jose Flores sweetened the pot with a check for $1,000, a gift that prompted cheers and applause when it was announced by emcee Ric Tyler of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications.
The crowd also cheered when the winner of $201 in the 50-50 raffle donated half of his winnings to MDA.
Prizes for best chili and best chowder were awarded in three categories.
The Judges Choice award winners were chosen by a panel of eight judges comprised of local media personalities and a professional chef.
Firefighters voted for their favorite chili and chowder and the People’s Choice winners were picked by attendees.
Here is a list of this year’s winners:
Judges’ Choice: professional chili, Moe’s Original BBQ; professional chowder, Husson University; amateur chili, Sara Luciano; amateur chowder, James Kanzler.
Firefighters’ Choice: professional chili, Husson University; professional chowder, Hero’s Sports Grill & Entertainment Center; amateur chili, Penobscot County Sheriff’s Troy Morton; amateur chowder, Ginny Trimmer.
People’s Choice: professional chili, Moe’s Original BBQ; professional chowder, Hero’s Sports Grill & Entertainment Center; amateur chili, Sherm Mason; amateur chowder, Ginny Trimmer.