Thomas Bridson of Brodo Kitchen dishes up some of the good stuff for Petra Höller of the Penticton Art Gallery in preparation for the Feb. 22 Loving Mugs Chili Cook-Off. Brodo is one of the competing restaurants. Mark Brett/Western News

Art gallery heating things up with chili cook-off

Penticton art gallery pits local chefs against one another for a fundraiser

Reigning Soup Bowls champion BRODO Kitchen is stirring things up this time with what they hope is an award-winning chili for the Penticton Art Gallery’s inaugural Loving Mugs Chili Cook-off.

“These kind of competitions are something I always liked doing. I’m kind of a competitive person myself. It’s fun to put yourself in there to see what others think of what you come up with,” said Paul Cecconi, owner of BRODO

The crew is working on an expresso smoked beef brisket and white bean chili. The mouthwatering chili also includes spicy and crispy kale crumble with avocado cream.

“It’s quite a long process. We’re going to start brining the brisket this Friday. We smoke it, cook it in the chili to have it ready for next Thursday,” said Cecconi, who has earned the People’s Choice at the Gallery’s Soup Bowls fundraiser for the last several years most recently with a chowder which also took the same award at Vancouver’s Chowder Chow Down last winter.

Cecconi along with nine other restaurants and groups (En’owkin Centre, Smuggler’s Smokehouse, Winecrush, Urtica Eatery at Legend Distilling, Cannery Brewing, Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Nest and Nectar, Monday Night Dinners), jumped at the chance to participate in the first Loving Mugs chili cook-off event being held Feb. 22 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Petra Holler, gallery assistant at the Penticton Art Gallery, said groups are bringing out their best chili recipes and some creative ideas are coming forward.

“We’re really excited Nest and Nectar is cooking up an elk chili, En’owkin is doing a deer chili. En’owkin is also making fresh bannock,” she said. “It’s a bit of a cultural component. Both of our exhibitions are by local Indigenous people with our annual En’owkin exhibit and Noll Derriksan and now we’ll also get to try some of the food that represents their culture as well.”

Just like the Soup Bowls, people who attend the fundraiser will have their pick at a handmade pottery mug. Wine and beer will be served and the evening also includes music from Tavis Weir and Stefan Bienz.

“The Soup Bowls is always an incredible event. People are walking around. smiles on their faces. It’s always a delight and we’re hoping this event will build on that and become an annual event. There’s going to be spicy chili. Come and warm up spring is not here yet.”

Tickets are $45 for members and $50 for non-members and available at the gallery.

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