Seventh annual chili cook-off brings heat, flavor to Mattapoisett

Feb 5, 2023

MATTAPOISETT — Everyone has a different idea about what makes a good chili. Some like it hot, while others say there needs to be a perfect balance of flavor and spice.

At the Reservation Golf Club’s seventh-annual chili cook-off on Sunday, Feb. 5, there was a chili for everyone.

In fact, there were 15 different chilis, the most the cook-off has ever seen, said organizer Steven Valliere. The 15 chefs were split into professional and amateur categories so they all had a fair shot at winning.

Chefs prepared everything from classic tried-and-true chilis to some more experimental stews.

Victoria Stickley made “drunken pumpkin chili,” which included pumpkins from her own garden and pumpkin ale.

“The difference between mine and other chilis is that it has a little bit of sweetness,” said Stickley. “But I’m an amateur, so don’t go by mine.”

Nearby, a family rivalry brewed between Nathan Rocha and cousin Blake Boyer, who entered the cook-off with competing chilis.

Rocha cooked up a smoked chili. He explained that he makes a “seasoned meatloaf,” smokes it over the pot to let the juices seep in, and then lets it sit for a day because “chili is always better the day after.”

“The only reason we [entered the competition] is because [Boyer] brags about his chili,” said Rocha. “We can’t let him win.”

Meanwhile, Boyer was sure his chili would come out on top, or at the very least, above his cousin’s.

“It’s a creamy chili, it’s got linguica, italian sausage and beef in it,” said Boyer. “I make [chili] with my four-year-old. We come out, we crush chili, we bring it here and we have a good time.”

And it wasn’t only Boyer who was having a good time, attendees shared conversation and laughs in between bites of chili.

Valliere estimated that the club raised around $3,000 from the event. The proceeds, he said, would be used to help pay for a new irrigation system at the club, a project that will cost around $600,000.

The club’s irrigation system is “falling apart” and is being “piecemealed together,” said Valliere.

According to Valliere, fundraisers like the chili cook-off mean that the club can keep membership fees low while still maintaining the green.

“This club has got one of the lowest membership fees around and we’ve been able to keep it that way [with fundraising].”

For Valliere, even though there were 15 great chilis at the cook-off, nothing could match his favorite chili of them all.

“I’m a fan of my wife’s chili but she’s not cooking this year,” he said.

Jennifer Borges’s chili “with a Portuguese twist,” won first place in the amateur category, Victoria Stickley’s “drunken pumpkin chili” came in second, and Tracy Horne placed third. In the professional category, Pandolfi's Mattapoisett Diner won first place, Harriet’s came in second, and Courtyard Resturant placed third.