The Hippo


May 30, 2020








Courtesy photo.

Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest

Where: Pats Peak Ski Area, 686 Flanders Road, Henniker
When: Sunday, Aug. 20, noon to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children age 10 and under, and free for infants and toddlers
Enter your chili 
Registration for chili competitors is open now through Saturday, Aug. 12. Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to enter. Individuals may enter in the amateur category, and restaurants and caterers may enter in the professional category. The cost to enter is $15 for amateurs and $25 for professionals. Entry forms can be found at 
Amateurs must make a minimum of four gallons of chili and professionals must make a minimum of six gallons. Two servers per chili entry are required to attend. Chili must be prepared offsite, transported to the event in provided containers and served from steam trays heated with sterno; electricity for slow cookers will not be available. Setup will begin at 10 a.m. Tables, tasting cups, spoons, a tablecloth and napkins will be provided. 
All entrants must attend a mandatory pre-chili meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m., at Pats Peak, where tables will be assigned by lottery, chili containers and access passes will be distributed and general event day details will be discussed. 
Direct amateur entry questions to Mary Krotzer at or 560-6279. Direct professional entry questions to Steve Neuhoff at 

May the best chili win
Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest returns to Henniker

By Angie Sykeny

 Chili makers can put their prized recipes to the test while foodies can enjoy the results of their culinary skills at the 15th annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest, happening Sunday, Aug. 20, at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker. More than 40 amateur and professional-level chefs from New Hampshire and beyond will take part in the chili competition and serve their chili to attending tasters. 

“People think of chili as a wintertime dish, but I think it’s one of those staple, go-to comfort foods that you can eat year-round,” said Ruth Zax of the Henniker Rotary Club, which hosts the event. “That’s why it’s one of those foods that you always see competitions for. People gravitate toward it.” 
The competition will have an amateur division, open to individuals, and a professional division, open to restaurants and catering companies, as well as a division just for rotary clubs.  
There are no regulations on chili ingredients and cooking methods; competitors have total creative freedom in developing their chili recipes, which usually results in a wide range of chilis for people to taste. Zax said past chilis have included green chili and chili verde, vegetarian chili, moose meat chili, chipotle chili, fish chili and even chocolate chili. 
Attendees can get up to two 1-ounce samples of chili from each chili maker and vote for their favorites. 
“There are so many varieties. Some people get very creative with whatever their favorite recipe is,” Zax said. “Some are sweet, some are hot, some have lots of vegetables, and you can wander around and taste all these different ones and get a really different feeling from each one.”  
Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place professional and amateur winners chosen by a panel of  judges, and to the people’s choice professional and amateur winner determined by attendees’ votes. The top prize is $1000, which will be awarded to the first-place amateur winner chosen by the judges. There will also be awards for the chili makers with the best booth displays. 
This year’s chili judges will be Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine; Allen Zick,  executive chef of The Common Man restaurant family’s specialty concepts; and Chef Nicole Barreira of T-Bones and Cactus Jack’s. 
Judges will score each chili based on its appearance, aroma, creativity with ingredients and presentation, texture, taste and blending of flavors, and aftertaste. 
Additionally, Pat’s Peak will offer beer and traditional festival foods such as ice cream and barbecue, and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission will be offering spirits samples. Other features will include a car cruise-in, a vendor midway with more than 20 local craft and specialty food vendors, live music by Dave Chiasson and The McMurphys and a kid zone with  arts and crafts, face painting and games. 
“It’s a real festival,” Zax said. “Chili is the mainstay, but even if you don’t like chili, we try to provide something for everyone.”

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu