An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Sep 23, 2013
07:24 AM
The Connecticut Table

Darien as a Chili Hotspot? Proof Will Be in Nature Center's Chili Challenge

Darien as a Chili Hotspot? Proof Will Be in Nature Center's Chili Challenge

The mission at Darien Nature Center is to provide educational programs to area families that foster “a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world.” And it has been doing a bang-up job since 1988, with a wide variety of school programs and field trips, animal rescue and rehabilitation, and a varied collection of cuddly (and not so cuddly) critters. But there’ll be something a little different going on at the center on Saturday night, Sept. 28, when area restaurateurs converge for the First Annual Chili Challenge.

Ten eateries (and one caterer) will vie for “Best Chili in Darien”: Rory’s, Jimmy’s Southside Tavern, Bodega, Chuck’s Steak House, Estia’s, The Goose, Burgers, Ten Twenty Post, Shakes & Fries, Station Eats, Sails and Michael Joseph’s Fine Foods. There’ll be live music and a raffle as well.

The rib-sticking entries will be judged by Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, restaurant critic Melanie Barnard and Darien Nature Center Executive Director Elizabeth Hearle. (Proceeds will go to support the center’s programs.)

“So many talented chefs and restaurants have signed on to this event, promising an incredibly delicious culinary experience," says Barnard, former restaurant critic for The New York Times. "Darien's local restaurant scene has exploded in the last couple of years, and this will be a great opportunity for the community to experience some high-quality food while supporting a great cause."

Chef Bryan Malcarney is all in. “Rory’s is really excited to compete in this  inaugural chili competition. We have a great classic chili recipe we’ve been making for more than 30 years,” he says. “It should be a great competition.”

The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets: $75.

Darien Nature Center, 120 Brookside Rd., Darien, 203/655-7459, dariennaturecenter.org.

Darien as a Chili Hotspot? Proof Will Be in Nature Center's Chili Challenge

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