Pastry chef joins chili cook-off

Published 11:29 am Monday, February 1, 2016

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Pastry chef Jordan Anderson, owner of The Baker’s Rhapsody, has thrown his hat in for one of the hottest battles to be fought in Dowagiac, which traces its origin to a remote ghost town in Texas, where some of the hottest chili has been served.

Anderson, who is known for his wonderful iced cupcakes and other sweet delicacies, is among seven downtown restaurants that will be vying for top billing at Ice Time’s Chili Cook-off.  Competitors also include: Beeson Street Bar & Grill, Caruso’s Candy Kitchen, Front Street Crossing, Wood Fire Italian Trattoria, Wounded Minnow Saloon and Zeke’s Restaurant.

The winter fine arts festival on Saturday, Feb. 6, is one of several seasonal events hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

According to Kris Soenen, Chamber of Commerce treasurer and festival chairman, another 30 businesses have sponsored the single-block ice carvings that will line Front Street and the timed ice carve-off beginning at 1 p.m. at Beckwith Park.

Organizers have said the first documented chili cook-off took place in 1967 in Terlingua, a remote ghost town in Texas. Like gossip, the idea spread and since then, communities large and small have hosted their own competitions to determine who makes the best recipe.

“Here in Michigan, while some love it hot and others like it mild, most agree it’s one of the best ways to warm up on a blustery winter afternoon,” Soenen said.

The chili crawl, as most locals call it, is open to the public free of charge, with sample-size containers served from noon to 4 p.m.  Host sites are all located downtown and within easy walking distance to one another.

For a detailed schedule of festival events visit the Chamber’s Facebook page or its website,