Annual Kosher Chili Cook-off will spice up your Sunday

Chiliphiles throughout North Texas are looking forward to some tasty hot stuff this Sunday, March 18, at Tiferet Israel’s 19th Annual Kosher Chili Cook-off. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. at the synagogue, 10909 Hillcrest Road. However, most of the 47 teams will gather at dawn to chop, slice and stir their way toward the ultimate batch of red. In addition to beef and vegetarian categories, this year’s contest has added a third, turkey. Empire Kosher Poultry, which is dedicated to being truly natural, socially responsible and strictly kosher, and is the world’s largest producer of kosher chicken and turkey, will be donating the turkey for the contest.
More than 300 lbs. of ground turkey has been ordered according to Scott Janco, cook-off co-chair.
“I am looking forward to bringing Empire Kosher’s ground turkey to Dallas so that no matter what recipes they’re using, the cooks in the turkey chili division will be able to make the healthiest, most delicious chili out there,” said Greg Rosenbaum, Empire’s CEO. “We are honored to participate, and I’m also excited about all the kosher chili I’ll get to taste.”
Empire Kosher will be on site and distribute samples of its newest product, Ready to Roast, a seasoned garlic and herb chicken that comes in an exclusive cook-in bag and is ready in 20 minutes in the microwave. The result is a tender, juicy chicken. Empire Kosher is one of three national sponsors of the event, which also includes Diamond Crystal Salt and California Delight, as well as dozens of local sponsors. In their tent, Empire will be holding a free drawing at the event’s close (4 p.m.) for a brand new microwave oven, sampling their chicken and distributing out coupons. The chickens will be sold at the Albertson’s at Arapaho and Hillcrest.
Typically, the chili cook-off draws anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 attendees depending on the weather. At press time, forecasters were predicting mild temperatures in the high 70s with a 20 percent chance of rain. However, rain or shine, the cook-off will go on.
Janco, who is co-chairing the event with Stuart Roosth, mentioned highlights of this year’s event. There are three beneficiary agencies that will receive the proceeds of funds raised: Chai – Community Homes for Adults, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of North America and the Zella Sobel Fund of the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association. Tiferet Israel is also partnering with Royal Lane Baptist Church to hold a food drive the day of the cook-off.
The annual food drive associated with the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-Off ( is underway. Non-perishable food can be dropped off at Tiferet Israel, 10909 Hillcrest Drive or at Royal Lane Baptist Church, 6707 Royal Lane., Dallas.
“You can bring non-perishables to either of these locations now or bring them when you come to the cook-off on March 18,” said Jean Sturman, food drive chair.
The food and other family necessities are bound for the Jewish Family Service (JFS) food pantry, an affiliate of the North Texas Food Bank.
“Some much-needed items are not covered by food stamps so we like to have a ready supply of such things as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and personal hygiene products,” said Sturman, a longtime volunteer at the JFS as well as the Kosher Chili Cook-Off.
The JFS pantry serves residents in 19 ZIP codes in North Dallas. Patrons may visit the food pantry once a month. The pantry is laid out so individuals can choose food items as they would in a grocery store. Kosher foods are available for those who observe Jewish dietary laws. JFS provides home delivery for homebound or disabled individuals as needed.
Royal Lane Baptist, next door neighbor to Tiferet Israel, collects food for the yearly food drive from their members. The staff sends emails to church members and makes announcements for the food drive during worship services. Both Tiferet and Royal Lane Baptist have food collection receptacles. The church is enthusiastic in their efforts, so is the congregation at Tiferet Israel. Besides the food drive collection, they share access to their parking lots for high-attendance events such as the Kosher Chili Cook-Off, Easter worship service,and similar occasions.
This year, with their $5 children’s admission, kids will have the choice of either a hot dog or chicken nuggets. Adult admission is $10 and includes all the chili you can eat. Hamburgers, hot dogs, falafel, drinks and other treats will also be available for purchase. Judges for this year’s contest are radio sportscaster Marc Elfenbein; Dallas City Council Member, District 11 Linda Koop; Dallas City Council Member, District 13 Ann Margolin; The SoupMan David Timothy; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings; and noted cookbook author Tina Wasserman.
In addition to Janco and Roosth, it takes a cadre of dedicated volunteers to organize the annual event. This year’s team includes: Jay Abrams, Rachael Abrams, Rose Abrams, Diane Benjamin, Janet Bubis, Esther Cohen, Naomi Cohen, Rick Cohen, Diane Goldblatt, Linda Greenberg, Harry Kabler, Caprice Kerner, Bob Kerstetter, Steve Kohansion, Sue Kretchman, Hanna Lambert, Sonja Meltzer, Sarah Moore, Bill Roth, Heddy Roth, Shirley Rovinsky, Jeff Schiller, Jean Sturman, Jennifer Williams and Gene Yarbrough.

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