It’s on — Glenview versus Northbrook in chili cook off

A winner of the 2013 Firefighter Chili Cook Off. This year's event is 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook. | Courtesy of Youth Services
A winner of the 2013 Firefighter Chili Cook Off. This year's event is 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook. | Courtesy of Youth Services

GLENVIEW — Glenview firefighter and paramedic Tim Jacks has thrown down the sauce ladle.

The second annual Firefighter Chili Cook Off is between eight fire stations in Glenview and Northbrook.

And Jacks is stirring the payback pot.

More than a backyard barbecue meat slinger on weekends, Jacks has been experimenting with spices and recipes for 15 years, cooking for family, friends and fellow-firefighters at the station house, where he regularly makes meals when on shift.

“Northbrook won it last year. I’d like for Glenview to pull an upset this time,” said Jacks, a 20-year veteran of the Glenview Fire Department.

Event proceeds will benefit Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook at 3080 W. Lake Ave. in Glenview, which is hosting the culinary contest Feb. 8., when tasting begins at 5 p.m.

A trivia contest is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the Chicago Highlanders Pipe Band will entertain.

A self-taught cook, Jacks started with cookbooks.

“I’d personalize recipes, sort of a continued work in progress over the years,” he said, preferring mildly spicy chili flavored with different peppers.

“I love jalapeno peppers, but not with many seeds. That’s where the real hot spice comes from.”

He also discovered cumin spice a few years ago.

“You’ll find cumin in a lot of southwest cooking. I think it helps chili,” Jacks said, comparing his recipe to thick Texas chili, but his has beans.

“What struck me at last year’s cook off was tasting eight or nine entries that all had different, distinct flavors. People enjoy that variety and like eating chili in wintry, cold weather,” he said.

“There’s vegetarian chili, which I don’t cook, and chili with chicken meat and white bean chili. It’s all good.”

The cook-off will include vegetarian chili. People attending can vote for their favorite chili, and a panel of judges will enter votes for the first place award.

The trivia contest has six themed rounds with a cash prize.

For tickets, call (847) 724-2620. Tickets are available at the door, but trivia teams are limited to first come first served. The event is for 21-year-olds and up.

Youth Services is devoted to the mental health, character development and physical well being of children and families.

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