Chili for Charity: Third Annual Council Chili Cook-Off at Saugatuck Sweets Benefits Al’s Angels

The battle for the best chili was on, but the champion prevailed once again.

The competition was intense from many other fine cooks, but the two-time Chili for Charity “Chili Cook-Off” champion came through again.

On a beautiful sunny Fall day, the  Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360 held their Third Annual Chili Cook Off fundraiser at Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

Six Knights from the council and two guests cooked eight chili entries, ranging from super-spicy to scrumptiously sweet. Defending Champion and Past Grand Knight George Ribellino was crowned Chili Champion once again, much to the dismay of current Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo.

“It is a dark day in the chili competition world. I really need to double my praying efforts to make sure this calamity never happens again,” said Criscuolo. “All joking aside, it’s always a great day when we can be out in the community, being a brotherhood with our Knights, and being able to raise money for a wonderful organization like Al’s Angels, who’s always striving to make a difference.”

“Once again, for the third year in a row, our Brother Knights hit it out of the park with some amazing chili offerings! We had some new participants bringing the heat to our veteran chili chefs. As always special thanks to Al DiGuido for his space and assistance. This year our council was able to donate $316 to Al’s Angels from the 95 judges at this event,” said Chili for Charity Chairman Erric Moretti.

The Chili for Charity concept was started by then-new Knight Moretti back in the summer of 2015. Moretti thought it would be a nice fraternal experience for the council while helping the community. He calls it a “fun raiser.”

The mission of Al’s Angels is to provide holiday meals and gifts to children battling cancer, rare blood diseases and severe financial hardship. This year Al’s Angels plans to provide holiday dinners for 1,000 families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“I knew the competition was going to be tough this year since I have the target on my back. I appreciate the support of all the judges and I love the trash talk among the Brother Knights, which is all is fun. The best part is we get to raise money for a great organization in Al’s Angels,” said Ribellino.

“My family and I had a great time at the Knights Chile Cook-off. The contestants all created dishes that were not only delicious to eat, but appropriately named such as ‘Fire in the Hole, ‘Third Degree,’ ‘As Seen on TV,’ and ‘Meat Lovers.’ They were all so good it was difficult to say whose was the best! We look forward to next year,” said St. Matthew parishioner and judge Ernie DesRochers.


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