Carlene Barnies, center, of Governor’s Restaurant & Bakery in Lewiston, dishes out chowder and humor to Dan Michaud Tuesday night at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston during the annual Chili and Chowder Taste Challenge. Proceeds benefit Longley Elementary School and The Green Ladle Scholarship Fund. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Hundreds of hungry people turned out Tuesday night for the 15th annual Chili & Chowder Taste Challenge at the Ramada Inn.

Twenty local eateries supplied original chilis and chowders for the fundraiser, which benefits Longley Elementary School and the Green Ladle Scholarship Fund.

Rolly’s Diner took home the Best in Show prize with their carved fruit and palm tree display.

Other top marks went to Firehouse Grill, South of the Border, Bates College Dining Services and Governor’s Restaurant.

Organizer Jennifer Gendron said more people attended this year than in years.

Tammy Cavers of Auburn and her friend Kathy Hattfield of Minot were there for their first time and were not disappointed.

“I’m so full already,” Cavers said, “and I haven’t even gotten everywhere yet,”

She said all samples she had tasted so far were good, but her favorite was from Firehouse Grill.

She was not alone in that opinion.

Megan Parks, a member of the school committee, said her favorite was also the Firehouse Grill chili.

“It’s spicy, but it has honey on top,” Parks said. “It’s very unique.”

Stacy Harriman of Lisbon said this was her second time at the Chili and Chowder Taste Challenge, but she will “be here for the next 10 years.”

Her personal favorite was the seafood chowder from Governor’s Restaurant.

Kassandra Bowen and Sadie Hazelcorn, teachers at Longley Elementary School, were selling tickets after getting an early taste of the food.

Bowen said she is “a hard chowder fan,” but Hazelcorn said she likes both.

“It’s great to see such a turnout,” she added.

In addition to the chili and chowder options, students from The Green Ladle prepared different breads and desserts to compliment the tasting.

Bates College provided four options, including a gluten-free and vegan chili. The Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch had a cajun chicken corn chowder, and South of the Border had a spicy Mexican chili.

Several raffles, a 50/50 prize and a cash bar were also available to raise money for Longley Elementary School and The Green Ladle.

Samples of chili and chowder fit perfectly in a muffin tin during the Chili and Chowder Taste Challenge at the Ramada Inn on Tuesday night. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Best of Show

• Rolly’s Diner

Art Judges best display

• 1st place – Firehouse Grill

• 2nd place – Rolly’s Diner

• 3rd place – Governors Restaurant

People’s choice best display

• 1st – Rolly’s Diner

• 2nd – Webster Street Deli

• 3rd – Governors Restaurant

Chef Judges best chili

• 1st – South of the Border

• 2nd – Webster Street Deli

• 3rd – Governors Restaurant

Chef Judges best chowder

• 1st – Firehouse Grill

• 2nd – Fusion at the Ramada

• 3rd – Hurricane’s

People’s choice best chili

• 1st – Bates College Dining Services

• 2nd – Webster Street Deli

• 3rd – Firehouse Grill

People’s choice best chowder

• 1st – Governor’s Restaurant

• 2nd – Firehouse Grill

• 3rd – KP’s Place


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