Lower Mills re-takes the trophy in chili cook-off; governor’s dish earns him a second-place bauble

The trophy in Dorchester’s chili cook-off returned to Lower Mills this week after a year’s absence, with the neighborhood’s civic association taking the top prize at the one-pot dish competition. The group was helped by Chris Gotreau, the executive chef at the Ledge restaurant and a Lower Mills resident.

Second place went to Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Milton), who handed out samples of his chili and made stops at every table, and State Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Savin Hill) won third place.

The award for most colorful presentation went to the Columbia/Savin Hill Civic Association, which had faux cacti and toy sticks of dynamite in a box to provide a Wild West flavor to the cook-off.

Attendees of the cook-off were able to buy stickers in the shape of red dots and stick them under the names of the various contestants, which included local members of the National Guard, the Freeport Tavern, and a number of local civic groups and other Dorchester organizations. “This is the one election it’s legal to buy,” quipped Richard O’Mara, a Lower Mills resident and a member of its civic association.

The event raised about $3,800 for the June 6 Dorchester Day parade.
City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley, who lives in the Ashmont Adams neighborhood, passed on the first-place trophy to Lower Mills. She won last year with the help of a recipe she and her mother crafted. Other previous first-place winners include the Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association.

The cook-off, held at the IBEW 103 Hall on Freeport St., was started by Pat O’Neill and Nancy Anderson of the Ashmont Adams Neighborhood Association about four years ago.

The event drew a number of politicians, many of whom are running for office this year, if not re-election. They included state Sen. Jack Hart; City Councillor At-Large Stephen Murphy and former Democratic Party chair Steve Grossman, both running for treasurer; and Fifth Suffolk District state representative candidates Barry Lawton (D-Fields Corner) and Sean Malloy (R-Fields Corner).

Also in attendance were City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo, Tito Jackson, a community activist who ran for City Council At-Large and is currently Patrick’s political director, state Democratic Party chair John Walsh, City Councillor Maureen Feeney, and Stacey Monahan, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

– GINTAUTAS DUMCIUS