All ablaze with chili

Garrett Doucette is ready for the heat of competition. The volunteer firefighter from Upsala, Minn. (population 400), is headed to New York City next week to represent the Midwest as one of five finalists in America’s Best Firehouse Chili Contest. He will be competing to win $10,000 for his fire station with his Creamy Turkey Chili. Hormel Chili, the contest’s sponsor, will be donating an additional $20,000 for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Doucette is a third-generation turkey farmer who also works as a food safety manager elsewhere. “We’re always coming up with ways to promote this protein,” he said in an interview. Doucette has been preparing his turkey chili for more than a decade, and has won various local cookoffs in the past few years with it. Though it’s a standby for any of his family gatherings, he sees a lot of chili prep in his future.

Kids in the kitchen

Who knows an after-school snack as well as kids do? The Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is tapping into that expertise with a contest for recipes for healthful snacks, open to kids in grades K-5. Recipes will be judged on ease of preparation, availability and healthfulness of ingredients, appearance and taste. Entries are due by e-mail on or before Sept. 28 (one entry per person) at Winners will be announced by mid-October and there are prizes involved.

Junk Bonanza and cocktails

During this year’s Junk Bonanza Vintage Market at Canterbury Park Sept. 20-22, there will be more than the classic vintage finds, antiques and artisan-repurposed goods (all at least 40 years old or upcycled materials of that age). There also will be free sessions at noon and 2 p.m. Sept. 22 on “The History of the Cocktail,” by Bittercube founder Nick Kosevich, who will prepare fall cocktails and provide samples. General admission to the market is $10 per day, available at the door with cash or checks only. Buy them online at

Meat and greet

It’s the season of fall outdoor festivals and this one will make many of us hungry. On Sunday, Best of the Wurst will focus on sausage creations from more than a dozen local restaurants, plus cider and craft beer. The festivities take place at Sociable Cider Werks (1500 NE. Fillmore St., Mpls.) from 2-6 p.m. Three levels of tickets are available (“Wurst,” $25 with all you can eat; “Better,” $40, all you can eat and two beer tickets and gift; “Best of the Wurst,” $75, all of the above plus early admission, private bar and bathroom access. Buy tickets at FairVote Minnesota, which promotes ranked-choice voting, will conduct its crowning of the “Best of the Wurst” via (what else?) that same voting method.

A taste of wine

A wine tasting with food pairings will be held by home-brewing supplier Midwest Supplies (5825 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park) Sept. 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with a wine educational program from 6:30-8:30 p.m. accompanying the four benchmark wines from the 2019 RJS Restricted Quantities Program, which provides winemakers with wine kits and high-quality grapes. Robert Ivankovic of RJS Craft Winemaking will guide the tasting, with each inspired by famous outlaws and crafted with grapes sourced from their homeland. Tickets are $10 and come with a $10 voucher that can be used that day toward the pre-order of a RQ Wine kit. Register at

No catch-and-release

A wild fish dinner is in the works at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar (31 S. 7th St., Mpls.), in collaboration with Laura Schara, TV host of “Minnesota Bound.” The six-course meal of freshwater fish from Minnesota will be held Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. Courses include smoked trout with sweet corn crêpe and dill crème to walleye roulade with wild rice and cherries. Executive chef Keven Kvalsten noted that the menu was “created with Minnesota fish in mind, but also marrying the dishes with indigenous ingredients.” Cost is $65 and includes wine pairings; call 612-216-3473 for reservations. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame in Little Falls, Minn.