Can you wolf down six pounds of chili in just minutes? World Chili Eating Challenge is part of Orlando Chili Cook-off
By Peter Covino
Just when you thought you had seen the last of chili for another year, after last month’s Sunshine Chili Cook-off competition, along comes an even bigger chili event.
Kissimmee’s downtown chili event features some of the finest chili (I can attest from years of experience as a judge) you will find anywhere, but Orlando’s Chili Cook-off, coming to Festival Park, today, would appear to be more of an endurance challenge, at least for some of the participants.
The event will feature the 2nd World Chili Eating Challenge, with delicious samples of chili from chefs around the country, live musical entertainment and activities for children. But that is not the endurance part.
This year, the world’s fastest eaters will get in on the fun. We are talking world-class chili-gorging.
The World Chili Eating Challenge will feature the top competitive eaters who can eat five and even six pounds of chili in one sitting in just a matter of a few minutes.
Participants will include Joey “Jaws” Chestnut of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest fame, Matt Stonie, currently second in the world, Tim ‘Eater X’ Janus and Sonya ‘Black Widow’ Thomas. Chestnut won the inaugural chili eating contest by devouring more than six pounds of chili.
The Orlando Chili Cook-Off has grown from a neighborhood chili sampling event started by Orlando residents to one of Orlando’s premier food events, featuring more than 13,000 attendees tasting nearly 100,000 samples of chili.
The event has raised more than $150,000 for Special Olympics Florida, Kiwanis Clubs of Greater Orlando and several other local charitable organizations since its inception.
The Orlando Chili Cook-Off will also welcome the CASI world chili cooking champion Brian Spencer.
For tickets and more information, visit www.orlandochilicookoff.com.
Want to be part of the tasty action? There are still opportunities available for sponsorship, cooks, vendors, bands and volunteers. Call Events for Change at 407-777-8309 or visit www.orlandochilicookoff.com to learn more.
We also got the results this week from the 18th Annual Sunshine Regional Chili Cook-off held on Jan. 18 in Kissimmee.
The ICS (International Chili Society) sanctioned Cook-off consisted of 32 national competitors.
This year’s big winner is Allen Case, of Orlando, and his Landshark Chili. Case’s red chili was the favorite among the judges and along with the $1,500 first prize, he wins a trip to the International Chili Society’s World Championship, to be held later this year.
The rest of the winners are as follows:
ICS Red Chili:
·Second Place – Jim Stoddard (Alien Chili) of Coppell, TX $300.
·Third Place– Scott Sprouse (Scotts Fires & Spice) of Orlando $150.
· Second Place – Jim Stoddard (Alien Chili) of Coppell, TX $200.
·Second Place – Scott Sprouse (Scotts Fires & Spice) of Orlando $100.
·Third Place – Debbie Sinclair (Better Than His) of Fort Myers $50.
·First Place - Pam Nelson (Cat House Chili) of Cocoa $100.
·First Place – Doug Roy (K.A.T.N Chili) of Clearwater $200.
Matthew McSheedy (Reading Hot Chili Peppers)of Reading, MA $200
·Eric & Lisa Patterson (Chill’axing Chili) of Satellite Beach $100.
Universal CityWalk’s newest restaurant, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, is now open, becoming the second eatery to debut as part of this year’s historic expansion to Universal’s entertainment complex. Featuring colorful décor, fresh, authentic cuisine, more than 200 different tequilas, and authentic Mexican folk art, Antojitos takes diners on a journey through the cantinas, street carts and markets of Mexico City.
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is located in the heart of Universal CityWalk, right next to the groove nightclub. The two-story restaurant features two unique dining experiences, both featuring a menu that combines authentic, traditional Mexican fare with all-new flavors – all made from scratch.
Guests can choose to dine downstairs for a more casual dining experience that includes items like carnitas al pastor tacos (made with beer and chile braised pork, grilled pineapple and guajillo salsa) and oaxaca enchiladas (chicken tinga and house made mole sauce, queso fresco and lime crema). Upstairs, guests will find a more refined dining experience that includes menu options like carne asada brava (coffee crusted ribeye with fire roasted vegetables) and menonita shrimp (bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with menonita cheese, manchego corn pudding and a poblano chorizo sauce). Diners can also watch as their fresh guacamole is prepared tableside, enjoy nightly entertainment in the restaurant, and sample a variety of specialty beverages – including authentic Mexican soda, beers, regional wines and an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal.
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is open nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight. Universal CityWalk’s expansion will include the addition of eight new venues to the complex’s already popular collection of national brands. Other venues to join Antojitos this year include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Cold Stone Creamery, Menchie’s, and The CowFish. For more information about Universal CityWalk, visit: https://www.universalorlando.com.
Blues & BBQ
The second Blues & BBQ Festival returns to Winter Garden, Saturday, Feb. 22.
The 4 to 10 p.m. event will be held at the Downtown Plant Street Pavilion.
The day includes award-winning barbecue (available for purchase) as well as some of the area’s hotest blues bands.
Bands include The Daniel Heitz Band at 4 p.m.; The Selwyn Birchwood Band at 6 p.m. and Albert Castiglia at 8:15 p.m.
Admission to the rain or shine event is free. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
For more information call 407-656-4155 or online at www.wintergarden-fl.gov.
One more Valentine option for the romantic holiday.
Macaroni Grill has a new tasting menu that includes starters such as cheese-stuffed Ravioli, a pasta course with traditional favorites Spaghetti Napolitana and Fettuccine Alfredo, and entrees including Chicken Scaloppine, Chicken Marsala and Pork Chop Vesuvio. Most restaurants now have roving opera singers too and a “wine wall” where guests can sign their empty wine bottles.
There are several Macaroni Grills in Central Florida, including locations in Osceola County.