Chili Challenge raises more than $3000 for local food pantry

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Photos by Lauren Thomas


The seventh annual Local Ingredient Chili Challenge held at Water Street Market last Sunday raised $3404 for St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, the highest number yet for the annual winter event that helps the non-denominational pantry do its work of feeding hundreds of local families in need every year. Though the Chili Challenge proceeds included a $1000 contribution by an anonymous donor, the dollars raised through sales of chili alone were still the best achieved by the fundraising event, said organizer Theresa Fall.

Fall attributed the numbers to good weather and community spirit. Two days earlier a storm had impelled the organizers to reschedule the event from Saturday to its snow date on Sunday. The availability of the numerous volunteers, contestants, judges and visitors who all make the day happen had to be considered. But in the end it all worked out. After all, said Fall, “The point of this fun event is to raise money for charity, and if no one shows to buy chili the food pantry suffers.”

Those who attended the event sampled two-ounce portions of chili sold for a dollar a serving. Each chili had to be made with at least five ingredients that were locally sourced or grown in the area. The more local ingredients used, the more weight it carried with the judges in the competition part of the event.


Professional and home chefs in the competition included several first-time participants, including the New Paltz Fire Department, Josie Grant Eriole of Moxie Cup and Gardiner’s Village Market & Eatery. Other contestants were Nathan Snow of The Huguenot and Karl Farms, Rock and Rye Tavern, Thomas Ingoglia of P&Gs Cornerstone, Paul Schembri of Curbside Cuisine, Cari Heberger of Jar’d Wine Pub, Bridge Creek Catering and Café, A Tavola Trattoria, James Walsh of Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters & Café, William and Anne Gehris and Matthew Flusser.

A panel of three judges — caterer and deli owner Joan Fall, chef Gamal Marquette and “foodie” John Cordo — gave the honors for Best Professional Chili to Rock & Rye Tavern, Best Vegetarian Chili to home chef Matthew Flusser, Most Creative Chili to Curbside Cuisine and Best Home-cooked Chili to the New Paltz Fire Department. The People’s Choice award went to The Huguenot restaurant on Main Street.

More information about events at Water Street Market is available at