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Joshua Thomas
District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese judge presentation.

Joshua Thomas
Meggin Frederick scoops samples for the judges.

Joshua Thomas
Erie Station Owner Angela Frederick scoops samples for judges District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese. in the background is Meggin Frederick.

Joshua Thomas
Erie Station Owner Angela Frederick (left) and Meggin Frederick present chili samples to District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese.


Spicy Salvation: Chili cook-off brings in money for flood victims

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - Updated: 7:18 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Sunday afternoon, Erie Station held the first of what they plan to make an annual fundraising chili cook-off, with 13 entries judged on presentation, flavor, personality and uniqueness.

For $5, attendees were able to eat all 13 chilis "to their hearts' content," stated Erie Station Owner Angela Frederick, who said of the decision to hold a chili cook-off in order to raise money for flood relief, "It's for a good cause that's very near and dear to our hearts," pointing out that she and her husband, Dave, were victims of the June 28 flood.

Their resolution for 2014, she noted, was to "give back to the community," which will involve holding some sort of fundraising event at their restaurant on a monthly basis.

Although Angela and Dave suffered significant losses in the flood -- the damage pushing back the opening date of Erie Station while repairs could be made and replacement items installed -- Angela said that although her family has "had a lot of tragedy in our lives," including a fire, "we still feel we're more fortunate than some," and as long as they have something, they have something to give back.

Angela also said she thought a chili cook-off fundraiser would be fun, as sampling each person's recipes would reveal a lot about them. "I think it shows peoples' personalities and creativity," she explained.

District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese judged Sunday's contest, tasting one sample at a time with bread in between to cleanse the pallet, and milk within reach just in case they encountered an unbearable, scorching hot chili. After the first round, they sampled five selections a second time, then choosing the winner.

In the end, Todd Smith was chosen winner for his spicy, but traditional recipe. Smith said the clincher may have been the strip of sour cream he placed across the surface of his chili.

There was a huge variety of chili entered, including two figure friendly, under 500 calorie options, turkey, chicken and vegetarian chili, and numerous traditional, spicy beef options.

Smith was given a cash prize -- 25 percent of the day's earnings, which he donated back. The second place winner received a gift certificate to Erie Station, and the third and fourth place winners (a tie) were provided gifts.

Reese said she had a great time judging the contest, stating, "What a great event for a great cause!"

"What's amazing about Fort Plain is how the community pulls together to help one another. I remember the day of the flood, hugging Angie as she asked, 'what will we do?', and saying, 'just like all of us, we rebuild, because we are Fort Plain and we are strong.'"

Angela said she was happy with the first event's turnout, and hopes to have more entries next year, stating of those who attended Sunday, "There's family, there's friends. I'm very happy. I feel blessed."

Reese concluded, "I certainly hope they make this a yearly event. Even though we had to choose a winner, every entry was a winner because it was for such a worthy cause."

Joshua Thomas - District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush and Town of Minden Supervisor Cheryl Reese discuss chili Sunday as they judge the 13 entries.


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