Martha Stewart and Orlando Firefighters at the Ultimate Chili Cook-off – Macy’s Mall at Millenia

Earlier this week, Martha Stewart joined Orlando Firefighters for the Ultimate Chili Cook-off at Macy’s at the Mall at Millenia. Four Orlando Fire Stations competed for the title of “Best Chili in Orlando”. The chili recipes were judged based on taste, consistency, aroma, color and bite. Executive Director of Food and Entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Lucinda Scala Quinn, joined Ms. Stewart for this event and was actually the person who judged the chili.


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The stage was set and the aroma of chili was in the air. The firefighters had their chili simmering away in new Enameled Cast Iron Pots from the Martha Stewart Collection. The audience eagerly waited for the competition to begin, taking photos of the firefighters’ tables to pass the time.


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*note firehouse information was provided by Macy’s

The participating Fire Stations include:
Firehouse 12 – Tailgate Chili with head chef Lt. Blaine Spurling
Firehouse 1 – Big House Chili with head chef Engineer Pat Kelly
Firehouse 3 – Rodney’s Chili with head chef Firefighter Bradley Shanks
Firehouse 11 – Beast of the East Chili with head chef Firefighter Chris McKeon

Ms. Stewart and Lucinda arrived, and after a warm welcome, the tasting of the chili started. They went to each table and asked about the ingredients of the team’s chili and they were served a bowl to taste. They described to the audience the textures and flavors for each chili. Everything sounded so good!


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Team 1 – Firehouse 12 Tailgate Chili


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Team 2 – Firehouse 1 Big House Chili


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Team 3 – Firehouse 3 Rodney’s Chili


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Team 4 – Firehouse 11 Beast of the East Chili


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We all were able to sample a cup of chili with cornbread, which were both recipes from Martha Stewart. The chili had a good blend of spices along with tender chunks of meat. Cornbread was moist and tender, paired well with the chili. I wish I had an entire bowl or two of this chili with extra cornbread.


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Martha Stewart entertained the crowd with a Q&A session and she had everyone laughing with her replies. She is actually quite funny and entertaining when answering the various questions from the audience.


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The laughter came to a slight pause when it was time to get serious and Lucinda had to pick a winner. She explained that she went on the basis of the chili alone, without any added toppings.


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In the end it was Firehouse 11 Beast of the East Chili from team 4 who won the cook-off.


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A group shot of all of the firehouse teams together with Martha Stewart and the cook-off judge Lucinda.


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After the competition the audience had a chance to receive an autographed recipe card, with a Martha Stewart Cookware purchase in the Home department at Macy’s.

I did get a chance to sample one of the team’s chili, Firehouse 12 Tailgate Chili. During the cook-off it was described as having a lot spices and heat. It was not too spicy, but it did have a kick of heat with a slow burn. Their chili definitely had a deep flavor and a spice combination that was unique.

This was a fun event to attend and has inspired me to make some chili. I do not really have a recipe, it’s kind of what ingredients are available at home and what spices I have on hand. Do you have a favorite chili recipe? Ever entered a chili cook-off before? Leave a comment below, I’d like to hear about your recipe or cook-off experience…

Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr.
Content and photos © 2012


Thanks to Everywhere Agency and Culinary Council of Macy’s for the invitation. Follow them on Twitter for more news and events!

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6 Responses

  • WOW! Great photos from the event! Everywhere is so happy that you were able to make it and that it was a fun event. I hope that we get to work together again!

  • Julius you are so lucky to get to do these things. My life pales in comparison. Our foodie scene here is very, well, non-existent to be honest. I am so jealous you got to attend such a cool event. Chili is a huge fave of mine.

  • Thanks Kim, I’m thankful I can attend the events and share with readers. The food scene hasn’t always been thriving like it is now in Orlando. Best thing to do is to start creating events in your area and working with local restaurants. It is intimidating, but with passion and working with the community, you can make it happen

  • I love your photos too, Julius! I loved this event and was so impressed by everyone’s questions. 🙂

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