It’s Chanukah! Think latkes, doughnuts and … chili. Yes, chili. Several Teaneck restaurants are competing to be named the Champion of Chili with the cook-off taking place on Tuesday, December 15. The competition is being organized by Jacob Goldberg, who recently took over Yalla!, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant at 206 West Englewood Avenue. The winner will be chosen by 50 families who will taste the samples and vote for their favorite.
To be considered, log into www.yallateaneck.com/contact-us with your name, email address and a brief message requesting to judge the chili cook-off, and follow the participating restaurants on Instagram: Yalla!, Dougie’s, Sender’s Smoke Joint, Noah’s Ark and The Humble Toast. Goldberg will send an email notification to the 50 families selected by Sunday, December 13.
Restaurants in the competition are each contributing cups of their prized recipes. Each family chosen to be a taster/judge will pick up a package with all the samples at Yalla! on December 15. Voting instructions will be included in the box. “We are looking for each family to rate all the chilis from one point for their least favorite to five points for the best,” said Goldberg. “I will add up all the points each contestant receives and award a winner.”
A professional judge will weigh in with his choice. Chef David Kirschner, a friend of Goldberg, has served as executive chef at many fine restaurants and now runs dineDK for custom, private dining clients. Kirschner has garnered many accolades as one of the best private chefs in New York City. He cooks for celebrities, executives, nonprofits, and team-building events, as well as cooking for private clients in their homes, including many kosher homes.
Goldberg’s idea for a chili competition started with a request from a Jewish Link reader who read our story introducing him as the new owner of Yalla! The story told how Goldberg used to make chili for the club at Yankee Stadium as the primary chef for The Legends Hospitality Kosher Division. Would Yalla! be serving chili? “I started thinking about what would go into Moroccan chili, and how other restaurants make their chili,” he said in a phone interview. “I was thinking about how there are different flavors other than the traditional one.”
Goldberg contacted the other restaurants with his idea for a chili cook-off, and the contest quickly came together. Shalom Yehudiel, owner of The Humble Toast, said Goldberg reached out to him and he was happy to participate. “We have a fantastic chili we make in-house that’s been on our menu for some time. We serve it in a sourdough bread bowl and top it with scallions. It’s popular as a starter and as the meal itself.” Gabe Gilbert, chef at Sender’s Smoke Joint, said he is creating a new recipe for the competition. “It is a bit smokey and has some heat, as to be expected coming from a smokehouse. We’re very excited at Sender’s about this competition!” Noam Sokolow, owner of Noah’s Ark, is a chili veteran. “We’ve had the best chili in Teaneck for the past 25 to 30 years,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has.”
The winner, who will be announced in The Jewish Link, will receive a trophy and a sign to hang in their restaurant. Goldberg hopes the winner, and all the participating restaurants, will attract lots of customers “looking to buy the best chili in town.”
By Bracha Schwartz