By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Do you have a favorite chili recipe?
Chili chefs and tasters too are wanted for the First Annual Great Chili Challenge.
About half a dozen chili makers have signed up to participate in the challenge but there is room for more, Nate Morin, owner of Tuck’s Ale House, said.
Hosted by Tuck’s, the first challenge takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 160 Main St.
The event will benefit LEAP – Life Enrichment Advancing People – which “provides daily living supports to adults with developmental disabilities in Western Maine,” Darryl Wood, executive director, said.
People, who come to the contest, provide a donation of at least $5 or more, sample each chili and vote for their favorite.
The winning chili maker receives a $25 Tucks certificate, LEAP gear and their names posted on a Great Chili Challenge plaque which will join the historical photos on Tuck’s walls. The winner, chosen by the public and some celebrity judges, will be announced at 8 p.m., Morin said.
The idea for the yearly challenge hatched in December during the annual Chester Greenwood Day activities.
Wood made a pot of chili for the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s annual contest. Then went to Tuck’s where he and Morin talked about the day’s activities and concluded beer and chili was a good idea, he said.
(Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)
But, it was really all about community.
“We were looking to expand Tuck’s relationship with the community,” Morin said.
Tucks has become a part of the community and wants to help support that community, he said. A fundraiser for the homeless shelter was held at Tuck’s on Chester Greenwood Day.
For LEAP, which is all about community, the event sounded like a good way to draw people in to Tuck’s for a fun, yet competitive, challenge, Wood said.
Nate and Amy Morin have been friends to LEAP for years. Their business, Black Bear Graphics, has supplied us with LEAP wear for our employees and initiatives, Wood said. Amy’s mother, Denise, was also a well-respected supervisor at the Department of Health and Human Services, who worked on behalf of the people LEAP supports, for years.
While chefs and tasters enjoy the evening, the event will also help people served by LEAP enjoy one of their own dreams, he said.
Many of the people LEAP supports are not able to find jobs or if they do, it is at a minimum wage. A concert in Portland or maybe an overnight stay at Old Orchard are above what they can do, he said. Sometimes, that desire is just a simple, nearby outing.
A former employee had an ability to help make things happen for people to enjoy their heart’s desire. This fund continues that work – the effort of providing an experience of joy, he said.
Facebook notices have already prompted sign-ups for sweet versions of chili, a hot tex-mex, game and vegetarian chili versions.
People are asked to register by calling 778-3466, by email to Deelight@leapcommunity.org or by signing up at Tuck’s to help them organize what is needed, Morin said.
But, no chili entry will be turned away. There’s room for more, he said.