New chili king: Castrovinci seeks Larson cook-off


“I have to believe that the reigning champ would have lost tonight had he shown up,” new Southeast Minnesota Chili Champion Phil Castrovinci said. “That’s how good all the chili was,” he added.

Castrovinci captured the top cook honors after capturing the hot chili category. Mary Petersson was also a double winner, with her medium and vegetarian chilis, while Representative Kim Norton took the mild category (last year’s winner Liz McLoone Dybvig was out with suspected strep throat). Glen Peterson received the coveted candidates’ choice prize.

In the chocolate contest, Janet Anderson took the best-looking dessert prize, while Katherine Speer baked the best tasting chocolate dish. The candidate’s choice went to Mary Petersson.

Though shut-out from the winners’ circle, Rochester labor leader Laura Askelin looks forward to the next contest, and hopes that Meeker County’s Merle Larson recovered his mojo so she and other First District DFLers can give him the drubbing he truly deserves.

“It’s time that we have a statewide chili cook-off,” Askelin said. Ever the organizer, the feisty AFSCME leaderthough it would be great to see chili goon Merle Larson get sent back to Dassel empty-handed when forced to face real competition.

DFL gubernatorial hopefuls Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza, R.T. Rybak and Paul Thissen attended the fundraiser; the Bakk and Kelley campaigns sent envoys.