Chili lovers unite to end hunger

On Sunday, Nov. 2 people of all ages met in World’s Fair Park for the 9th Annual East Tennessee Chili Cook-Off. The competition kicked off with VIP entrance at 11 a.m., followed by regular admission at 12 a.m.

Each team creates their own unique name in hopes of being remembered.

Rows of chili Stands covered World's Fair Park
Rows of chili stands covered World’s Fair Park for the annual cook-off.
Hannah Hausman/TNJN

On Sunday, Nov. 2 people of all ages met in World’s Fair Park for the 9th Annual East Tennessee Chili Cook-Off.  The competition kicked off with VIP entrance at 11 a.m., followed by regular admission at 12 a.m.

This is the first year that the Cook-Off offered the VIP Chilling Tasting option. If attendees purchased this ticket they got to spend time in the private tent with easily accessible chili and beer. They also received special edition Chili Cook-Off t-shirts.

While competitors and attendees all share a love for chili, it is the mission of this event that continually draws such a large crowd.  All of the proceeds from this event go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, the region’s largest hunger relief charity.

Mike Frede, a former chef at Spaghetti Warehouse, has been cooking chili at this event every year.

“Second Harvest was the company who used to come in at night and collect whatever [food] we had left at night,” said Frede. “Since this benefit was for second harvest, that is what made us start in the first place.”

Frede now works for US Foods, who also donates to Second Harvest. Here, he sees the impact that Second Harvest has on a daily basis.

Each team creates their own unique name in hopes of being remembered.
Each team creates their own unique name in hopes of being remembered.
Hannah Hausman/TNJN

“What they do in the community is incredible, they feed so many people,” said Frede.

Over 30 teams participate in the competition for East Tennessee’s best Chili.  Attendees vote for their favorite once they taste every team’s creation.

Dawn Michelle Foster and Dr. James Foster attended the Chili contest together for the third year in a row. For Dawn Michelle Foster, there was a clear winner: The Red Hot Chili Cookers.

“I knew it was my favorite because I spilled it on myself and I kept eating it, and usually I [would] just throw it away” said Foster.

For Dr. James Foster, The Chili Dogs presented the most tasty chili.

“The flavor was perfect,” said Foster.

For more information on The Chili Cook-Off, or Second Harvest of East Tennessee click here.

Edited by Alyssa White

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