Professional and amateur chili chefs turned out Tuesday for the fourth annual “Memorial Chili Challenge.”

Northern Michigan University culinary students host the challenge in  remembrance of students, faculty and friends of the Hospitality Management Program who have passed away.

“Best use of Heat,” “Most Original”, “Peoples’ Choice”, and “Judges’ Choice” are the competing categories for professional and amateur  chefs.  Unlimited chili samples were served up and according to one Chili Lover, the winner was pretty clear.

“The best chili that I tried was from Babycakes actually for the professional category and we really like Ingrid Hewitt’s amateur chili as well,” chili lover Brandon Frisk said.

Chili for all appeared to be the theme: you could try everything from beef chili, pork chili, chicken chili, vegan chili, and even a white white bean chili.

The challenge is for charity so the boxing gloves were off and the chili swapping was on.

“It’s a very friendly competition, everyone is really nice, everyone is sharing their chili, you will see people running back and forth and in each group different chilis so they can try it,” Elizabeth’s Chop House executive chef Chadd Wellman said.

“What I like most was a lot of different flavors, a lot of things you wouldn’t expect.  People think that chili has to be hearty and spicy but when you come down here there is a lot of different ingredients that get thought of and put in that kind of surprise you so it’s a really good experience,” Frisk said.

Proceeds from the Chili Challenge will go to Marquette’s Beacon House’s Fresh Food Program.

A complete list of winners is listed below:


Judge’s Choice:
Best Use of Heat, Most Original and Best Overall went to –  Alex Palcewiz and Alyssa Pilot

People’s Choice:
Best Use of Heat: Landmark Inn

Most Original and Best Overall – Alex Palcewicz and Alyssa Pilot


Judges Choice:

Best Use of Heat – High School HM

Most Original – Ingrid Hewitt

Best Overall – Tamra Manis & Family

People’s Choice:

Best Use of Heat went to High School HM

Best Overall and Most Original  – Ingrid Hewitt