Pastry chef strikes it big with voters

Anyone who thought a pastry chef couldn’t pull his weight in the Professional Chili Cook-off, held during Saturday’s Ice Time Festival, likely hasn’t sampled Jordan Anderson’s  wide spectrum of breads and desserts at The Baker’s Rhapsody.

Anderson is one fellow who definitely knows his way around the kitchen. Not only did Wood Fire Italian Trattoria give up its 2015 first-place title to Anderson, this young baker literally ran away with the votes.

Festival chairman Kris Soenen said The Baker’s Rhapsody amassed 169 votes for its first-place win. Second-place finisher with 72 votes was Front Street Crossing/COA, with Zeke’s Restaurant coming in third with 62 votes.

The annual chili crawl, as most locals call it, was held during Dowagiac’s 20th annual winter arts festival. Visitors to the central business district were able to sample chili at seven locations on Front Street, including Beeson Street Bar & Grill, Caruso’s Candy Kitchen, Wood Fire Italian Trattori and Wounded Minnow Saloon.

Anderson featured a Southwestern-style Chili with a Cilantro Lime Crème fraîche. “That cool and refreshing citrus really balanced out the heat of the smoked chipotles and poblanos,” Anderson said.

Leading up to the competition, he told viewers to his Facebook page, “It’s crazy good!  But don’t take my word for it! Swing by and try it for yourself.”

And, apparently that’s exactly what they did.

This year’s snowless festival with its unseasonably warm temperatures lured hundreds of residents and day-visitors to Dowagiac’s central business district.  “Downtown streets were full, specialty shops were full and so were our restaurants,” Soenen said.  “We were lucky to have a wonderful day and a remarkable turn out.”

Ice Time is one of several seasonal events hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.

Major underwriters of this year’s celebration were Clark Chapel – Starks Family Funeral Home, Chemical Bank, Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center, Dowagiac Area Federal Credit Union and Lyons Industries, along with another 30 businesses that sponsored the single-sculpture carvings and timed carve-off at Beckwith Park.

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