Ned Devine’s 7th Annual Chili Cup Benefits Community Work Services
Charlestown’s Pier 6 may have walked out with the Chili Cup and bragging rights for the next year, but it was Community Work Services that was the real winner at Ned Devine’s 7th Annual Chili Cup championship on Thursday night.
The annual fundraiser, which this year raised more than $10,000 for CWS, helps fund training programs which prepare the homeless and others from disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in the food arts, as well as in the hospitality industry and to work in mail rooms at federal offices. The event takes place on the third Thursday of February each year, and this year featured chili from 18 restaurants from across the city.
Derek Brady, co-owner of the Causeway Restaurant & Bar, 2014’s Chili Cup winner, explained that it took his chefs two full days to to smoke the pork shoulder used in their chili. As Causeway’s chef went into detail with the many steps it took to produce the meal, he described it as “a wonderful mix of flavor and love.”
The second place award went to Lulu’s of Allston, and third place went to Community Work Services’ own Texas style chili with beef brisket, butternut squash, and pumpkin seeds, which was prepared by students at the organization. The awards were presented by Jessica Callahan, the midday host on 101.7 FM The Bull, who hosted and emceed the event.
“I am in awe of how many people came out tonight,” Callahan, a Marlborough native, said of the crowd of more than 600.
Community Work Services had a line at their table all night, but Jessica Miniman, a culinary instructor with CWS, said the event itself was a greater tribute to the work they do.
“Besides being an important way for us to fundraise so that we can continue to do the work that we do, this is actually a lot of fun for us,” Miniman said. “We get to showcase the type of things we are doing with our participants, and we get to come together with other people in our community, other restaurants, and other organizations in our community, because building a strong community is how we get people jobs.”
Restaurants from across downtown were well represented at the event, with MIJA Cantina & Tequila Bar taking the Spiciest Chili Award, and Cheers walking away with the prize for the most spirited table decorations. The Living Room, which included chocolate sauce in their recipe, took home the Most Creative prize.
Ian Sample, an aviation magnate from Boston, has been attending for several years and says this is the biggest event he can remember. While he enjoys the food, it is the cause that brings him back year after year.
“Community Work Services is a great organization,” Sample said. “They help people not through a handout, but by teaching them job skills to help them get back on their feet and living a sustainable lifestyle.”
Participants in the Chili Cup championship included:
– Anthem Kitchen + Bar
– Barracuda Tavern
– Causeway Restaurant & Bar
– Community Work Services
– Dick’s Last Resort
– Dillon’s Restaurant & Bar
– Finch Restaurant
– Green Briar Irish Pub
– Lulu’s Allston
– MIJA Cantina & Tequila Bar
– Ned Devine’s Irish Pub
– Pier 6
– Publick House
– Tasty Burger
– The Living Room