S.U.N.Y. Maritime Hosts 2nd Annual Firehouse Chili Cook-Off

Bronx Times - November 13, 2009

by Patrick Rocchio

Firefighters from around the borough were on hand before S.U.N.Y. Maritime's football game on Friday, November 6 to serve up spicy chili to fans at the college's 2nd annual FDNY Bronx Firehouse Chili Cook-off.

The school hosted six engine companies: 50, 64, 72, 75, 79, and 90, with each fire-house serving up its best chili to fans before the Maritime Privateers football game against Gallaudet University.

Engine 50 won the contest for the best chili. Voting took place in the hour before the game and results were announced at half- time.

"This annual fire department chili cook-off contest is just another example of the college's outreach to bring the community to the school and show what happens here," said student Charlie Belmonte, who assisted with the cook-off. "This is good because we are a little school out on a peninsula, and it brings people here who might not otherwise know about us."

All of the chili was made by firefighters working at borough engine companies, and in all cases the cooking was as much of a team effort as fighting fires.

"All of the brothers in the firehouse helped make this chili together," said Brian Mulroy, of Engine Company 50 at 1155 Washington Avenue. "There is a lot of meat in our chili, which is probably what makes it different from others at the cook-off."

Peter Finke, of Engine Company 64 at 1214 Castle Hill Avenue, said teamwork at the firehouse with the cooking was what made their chili the best.

"This chili was cooked in the firehouse today, and we often cook together," Finke said. "There were 12 of us that put this together, each one of us working on a different part of the process."

The chili was served up to students and spectators in Dixie cups, with votes being cast on small paper ballots.

"All of the guys in the firehouse love cooking," said Ronny Fuentes, representing Engine Company 90 and Ladder Company 41 on 1841 White Plains Road. "It is the TLC – tender loving care – that makes this good chili."

Win, lose, or draw, the firefighters and the students were grateful for the grub, which spiced up a chilly night.

"Many hands make less work, and everyone chipped in," said John Burger of Engine 75 at 2175 Walton Avenue.

S.U.N.Y. Maritime lost the football game to Gallaudet University in a squeaker, 16-13.