New category to add flavor to Chile in October

Public can choose their favorite chile at annual Chile in October

Hannah Grover
Brent and April Beard, of Farmington, talk to customers about their salsas Oct. 4, 2014, at the Chile in October cook-off at Berg Park in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Organizers say a new chile category will provide more variety for people who attend Saturday's Chile in October cook-off.

The homestyle category — which allows cooks to add ingredients like beans, pasta and hominy — is a new addition to the annual contest, according to Farmington Chamber of Commerce President Audra Winters.

The annual cook-off, which the chamber organizes, invites chefs to compete to determine who makes the best New Mexico signature cuisine. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Berg Park, 514 Scott Ave.

About 20 cooks have registered in four categories of chile — red, green, salsa and homestyle. People who attend the event pay $10 and receive four cups to sample chile. The public votes on the best tasting chile.

Winters said the cook off initially began with just red or green chile, and the salsa category was added in 2013.

Ryan Mitchell, of Farmington, serves chile on Oct. 4, 2014, at the Chile in October cook-off at Berg Park in Farmington.

One of the competitors that has entered the cook-off annually since it began in 2007 is Three Rivers Brewery. But this year the brewery will not participate in the event because of a dispute over which business would sell beer at the event.

Co-owner Bob Beckley said his business was instrumental in getting state approval to sell beer at the cook-off about six years ago. This year, the chamber announced Clancy's Pub will sell beer, instead of Three Rivers.

Winters said vendors are selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Beckley said he was not informed about that before submitting the application for Three Rivers.

"I feel this is super, super unfortunate that this is the way the community works," Beckley said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.