The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








Brookline Chili/Soup/Chowder Cook-Off. Courtesy photo.

3rd annual Brookline Chili/Chowder/Soup Cook-Off

When: Sunday, Feb. 19, noon to 3 p.m. 
Where: Brookline Event Center, 32 Proctor Hill Road, Brookline
Cost: General admission for tasters is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors 62+ and children under age 12. 
More info: See “Brookline Chili/Soup/Chowder Cook-Off” on Facebook. 

Get the scoop
Chefs present unique soups and chilies at cook-off

By Angie Sykeny

 Local amateur and professional-level chefs will have a chance to showcase their culinary creativity when the annual Brookline Chili/Chowder/Soup Cook-Off returns on Sunday, Feb. 19. Over a dozen chefs from southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts will be set up in the Brookline Event Center from noon to 3 p.m., serving samples of their best chili, chowder and soup recipes to attending tasters. 

The cook-off was created by the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce but adopted by the Brookline Economic Development Committee three years ago. Valerie Rearick, Brookline Town Planner and coordinator of the cook-off, said the committee was happy to give the cook-off a new home and to host an event that would bring some fun and excitement to the Brookline community during the quieter winter months.
“We have a large event center here, which is a perfect location for us to do it,” Rearick said. “It seems like cooking competitions often take place in the summer while there’s less stuff organized in the winter, so this is a good way for people to get together in the winter and do something different from just going to a restaurant.” 
Judging will commence at noon with an official judges panel, comprised of three town committee members, and people’s choice voting ballots, which will be given to tasters upon arrival. 
Entries will be judged in soup, chowder and chili categories and in professional and amateur divisions separately. One winner chosen by the judges and one people’s choice winner will be named in each category for a total of 12 awards. Winners will receive certificates and bragging rights. 
Rearick said the judges will score the dishes on criteria such as “creativity and originality, texture, spices and flavors.” 
Past entries have included things like tortilla soup, smoked brisket chili and chicken egg-lemon soup.  
“There are some interesting ones you wouldn’t expect,” Rearick said. “The lemon soup was surprising because most people think of soup as vegetable-based, so that was a little different, but excellent.” 
In addition to the chili, chowder and soup dishes, the cook-off will feature a cash bar with beer and wine; live music by the Brookline Acoustic Jammers; cookies and brownies provided by Friends of the Brookline Library; and raffle tickets for all attendees, with a chance to win gift certificates and other prizes from local restaurants and businesses. The raffle drawing and the cook-off winners will be announced at 2:45 p.m. 
The Brookline cook-off grew from 100 attendees its first year to 300 attendees and running out of food its second year. Judging from the buzz about the cook-off circulating on social media and the increased interest from local restaurants looking to participate, Rearick said, there is no doubt that attendance will continue to grow. 
“More and more people are talking about it, and now we have people coming not just from Brookline but from all over,” she said. “Everyone really seems to enjoy it.” 
Those interested in entering a dish for the cook-off should contact Rearick at or 673-8855 as soon as possible. There is no fee to sign up, and participants are welcome to compete in up to two categories. Those looking to attend the event as a taster can purchase tickets at the door the day of the event.  

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