Alert to chili fans: Cookoff this Sunday (3-6) at IBEW hall

For the fourth year, residents from around the neighborhood will be competing for a coveted title next weekend: winner of the Dorchester Chili Cookoff.

With dozens of combinations of spices, vegetables, meat or meatless, everyone seems to have his or her own version of this popular one-pot dish.

And Dorchester cooks – amateur and professional – will try to win the patrons over when they put their best dish forward on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the IBEW Local 103 hall on Freeport St.
The event looks to be entertaining and it has been organized for a good cause – to raise money for the Dorchester Day celebrations.
The brainchild of Pat O’Neill and Nancy Anderson, both of the Ashmont Adams Neighborhood Association, the event brings together neighbors from various parts of Dorchester.

“We try to get all of the different associations and neighborhood groups represented,” O’Neill said. Anderson is serving as the chairperson of the event.

Over the years, attendance has grown and the event continues to raise money to support the annual parade. The first contest drew 11 contestants. The second year entries grew to 15 and last year there were 25 chefs, O’Neill said and some 200 in attendance.

Some restaurants are also participating. This year, the chefs from Dot to Dot Café and Ashmont Grill will compete. Representatives from the National Guard installation on Victory Road competed last year and will return this year for the contest, O’Neill said.
The cost to attend is $15 for individuals and $25 for a family of four.

“Everybody gets a sticker. We have all of the names listed of the people who made the chili. Whoever gets the most stickers at the end of the day wins the contest,” O’Neill explained.
This year, a country and western D.J. will provide the musical entertainment.

Previous winners have included Corinne Ball of the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association, Claire Hughes from Dorchester Lower Mills, who won the second year, and last year’s first place winner was the recently elected Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley from Ashmont Adams.

Contestants make the chili at home and bring it to the IBEW hall where they heat it up.

“Each contestant probably brings three to four gallons of chili,” O’Neill said, adding that she expected another big crowd this year.