NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The "After Hours" group held its 3rd Annual Chili Cookoff on Thursday night at the DeCorso Building, on National Chili Day, to determine the best chili New Providence had to offer. This year’s winners were, 1st place Michael Savage for his beef chili; 2nd place Anita Torsiello for her beef chili; and 3rd place Karen Jenshoej for her chicken chili. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, received oversized gold, silver, or bronze, metals, respectively.

The contest featured 9 different chilies, ranging from traditional beef chili, to unique recipes, like kielbasa chili, turkey no bean chili, and vegetarian (vegan) chorizo chili. The chili cookoff has always seemed to spark creativity amongst residents, last year’s winner, Maria Lopez, introduced her Cuban style chili, picadillo. Picadillo, is a stew of tomato and beef, “you just need to add more gravy to it to make it into a chili,” explains Lopez.

The annual chili cookoff was created as part of the After-Hours program, where members of the community, 50+, can socialize with other members of the community. In addition to chili cookoff, the After-Hours program, has also held, BBQs, a music trivia night, and Irish night, to name a few.

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The night proved to be a jovial one, as guests each grabbed small bowls of chili to begin judging, conversation and laughter quickly ensued. Mike Petronella, who did not enter the contest this year said, “I came to hang out with everybody here.” He spoke about the allure of chili, “It is a very simple dish to make, labor intensive, but simple.” Paul Johnson chimed in and spoke about the history of chili, to which Petronella asked “Where is your chili?” Johnson responded, “I have my own recipe, I’ll unveil it on Christmas.”

The night was full of conversations like this, friendly chatter, and great chili.

The occasion was hosted by Administrative Assistant, Patty Kummer; retired Senior Coordinator, Peggy Brodeur; and the recreation department’s Arlene Regan, who entered the contest with a vegetarian chili. The After-Hours program plans on holding two more events, one undetermined theme on April 27th and another end of year BBQ, on June 15th.