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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Eric Rosenblad is the state chili cooking champion

  • Winning awards for his chili is nothing new for Eric Rosenblad, veteran competitive chili chef.

    But on Saturday, for the first time, he placed first in chili cooking at the Kansas State Championship, Chili Appreciation Society International.

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  • Winning awards for his chili is nothing new for Eric Rosenblad, veteran competitive chili chef.
    But on Saturday, for the first time, he placed first in chili cooking at the Kansas State Championship, Chili Appreciation Society International.
    The event was held at Cabelas in Wichita, hosted by the Sunflower Chili Pod, which covers the western part of Kansas.
    “Steve Shepherd and I represented the Mo-Kan Chili Pod at the state championship,” Rosenblad said. “It’s been at least a couple of years since a member of our pod won this, so we re-captured the flag.”
    He said that he didn’t do any extraordinary preparations for the event.
    “We’re continuously trying to refine our recipe, and we hope it paid off,” Rosenblad said.
    He and Shepherd, a former state champ chili cooker, also placed third in showmanship at the state championship.
    All chili cook-offs raise money for charity, and Rosenblad said that the state championship proceeds benefited Heartland Heroes, dedicated to helping returning veterans with disabilities or injuries  and their families as well.
    “We used to have the state championship at our Little Balkans Days chili cook-off,” Rosenblad said. “Now it's a traveling event and was in Wichita this year.”
    Aside from the glory, there are other benefits to winning a state chili championship.
    “CASI holds the state championships in such high regard that those who place first, second or third at a state championship automatically qualify for the International Chili Championship at Terlingua, Texas,” Rosenblad said.  “Otherwise you have to get to Terlingua by earning points for placing at CASI-sanctioned events."
    He has competed twice at Terlingua, but said that a prior commitment may prevent him from  going to the international championship this November.
    But that doesn’t mean he won’t be putting on his chili pepper overalls in the near future.
    “Our next cook-off will be at the Route 66 Festival  in August, just outside of Galena,” Rosenblad said. “Then Little Balkans Days will be coming up in September.”
    Not all cook-offs take place in the warm weather.
    “We did a great cook-off with the Polar Plunge people in February,” Rosenblad said. “Some of our veteran chili cooks mentored chili cooks with special needs.”
    Rosenblad has also earned honors in other areas of competitive cooking, ranging from hot wings to ice cream. In daily life, he’s managing attorney in the Kansas Legal Services Legal Assistance Office.
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