Dozens Serve Up Unique Recipes at 27th Annual Chili Cook-Off

Taylor Holt
Updated: September 20, 2018 10:21 PM

What better way to spend a rainy, windy, chilly Thursday than at the 27th Annual Chili Cook-off. There people had the chance to sample 21 different types of chili and help raise money for the Head of the Lakes United Way.


"This is our 27th year of doing chili in the Northland. It always amazes me when we get new entries each year," said Taire Suliin, Events Manager for the Head of the Lakes United Way.

The annual event has featured 27 years of classic recipes and also, some that you may have never heard of. This year there were more than 20 business and nonprofits that battled it out.

"We call (our chili) the 'Not Your average Northwoods Chili' so it's got ground bison, ground elk, ground beef," said Jason Johnson with the Human Development Center.

"We use a Mexican style Mole way of cooking. There's ground peanuts in our chili. We have some Mexican chocolate and cinnamon in it also," said a volunteer with the Duluth East Food for Thought Restaurant.

Along with some unique recipes, there were also some unique themes, one veteran group from Whole Foods Co-op.

"We get a little carried away. We like to pick a theme and go big with our theme so as you can see this year, we got the three little pigs theme. We are serving a triple pork chili," said Alison Wade.

Suliin says the variety is part of the reason people keep coming back.

"There are 13 different awards that people can win. There's a first through third of amateur, first through third of professional, but you've also got the 'most unique', 'the hottest yet edible', and 'the most unusual," said Suliin.

Suliin says it's also a chance to bring people together to raise money for a good cause.

"It's kind of like a family reunion where people can say 'Oh yeah, those were the girl scouts. My kids are in girl scouts and they have a chili' or 'Oh yeah, that's the Valley Youth Center. That's where I grew up', so it's kind of nice to have that continuum as an adult of where you come from," she said.

The event raises money for the Head of the Lakes United Way. 


People's Choice: Minnesota Power

Spicy Spirit (Best Booth Decorations): Whole Foods Co-op

Professional Division:

1st Place: Minnesota Power

2nd Place: Duluth Bethel

3rd Place; Essentia Health/Northern Lights Cafe

Amateur Division:

1st Place: TIE: Arc Northland and Girl Scouts of MN and WI Lakes & Pines

2nd Place: Duluth East Food Fot Thought Restaurant

3rd Place: Valley Youth Center/Miller Roofing 

Hottest-Yet-Edible: Valley Youth Center /Miller Roofing

Vegetarian: Girl Scouts of MN and WI Lakes & Pines

Most Unique: Duluth Bethel


Taylor Holt

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