The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Local celebrities throwdown for chili

Angelo Marrone and Al Bowers serve up their chili for tasting at the Chili Throwdown at Country Fried Duck.

Angelo Marrone: Italian Style Chili
Al Bowers: The Khaleesi
Angelo Marrone and Al Bowers serve up their chili for tasting at the Chili Throwdown at Country Fried Duck. Angelo Marrone: Italian Style Chili Al Bowers: The Khaleesi

The first ever Chili Throwdown was held on Saturday evening, in the new, country-themed bar, Country Fried Duck.

Kim Grooms, the branch executive director of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA, said the YMCA Annual Campaign has a fundraising goal of $350,000 this year. All of the profits raised by the Chili Throwdown went directly to the YMCA.

“For me, it’s important that our community knows that we give back,” Grooms said. “It’s important that the Y is a community organization, and we make sure to take care of our kids and family.”

The money funds YMCA programs for minority and low-income youth.

These programs include Swim for Life, which teaches children who are at high risk for drowning to swim, and Y learning, which gives students who are performing below grade level the opportunity to catch up.

Chris Blue, Chapel Hill police chief, along with Al’s Burger Shack owner Al Bowers and UNC alumna Marla Benton, had the idea for the event. Blue and Bowers serve on the board of advisers of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA.

“We were thinking about some kind of food-themed event that we could do,” Blue said. “We thought it might be fun to have some kind of chili cook-off and get some interesting community members to participate. It’s a good time of the year for some chili.”

Local business owners Sally Mack and Sammy Martin and Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood were asked to judge the event.

“Chapel Hill business owners are often called on to give,” Martin said. “We are an extremely giving people, but you don’t have to own a business to give.”

The winner by popular vote was Bowers, but he was not declared the winner because, as Martin said, he submitted the best-tasting food that wasn’t actually chili.

Mike Benson, born and raised in Chapel Hill and owner of Southern Rail in Carrboro, was declared the winner with his Bloody Mary Chili.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who used homegrown habanero peppers as his secret ingredient in the chili, placed third.

“This is a different kind of chili than I would usually make,” Kleinschmidt said. “My favorite kinds are the ones that don’t have any kind of tomato, lots of beef and lots of spicy chili. This one is turkey-based.”

Donald Williams, a former UNC basketball player, also competed in the event.

Williams talked about his program, the Donald Williams Basketball Academy, a nonprofit outreach program for children.

“I think it’s a great opportunity and a great fundraising event to show off my cooking skills,” Williams said.

@BurhanKadibhai

city@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.