Cooks set for Chile Verde Cook-off


For The Madera Tribune

Waffle Spot owner Kim Praytor stands with her cooks Lolo Rivera, middle, and Juan Ruiz while they hold the trophy for next week’s Chile Verde Cook-Off.

 

Madera restaurants will unite for bragging rights for Madera’s first-ever Chile Verde Cook-Off to be held at the Waffle Spot (1101 Country Club Drive).


Waffle Spot owner Kim Praytor has organized the last two Clam Chowder Cook-Offs and wanted to do something different in the fall.


“I love it,” she said. “It’s something for the community. It’s something fun and kid friendly. It is something to do in Madera. It’s really cool to host something that everyone enjoys so much.”


The Chile Verde Cook-Off will be on September 24 at the Waffle Spot beginning at 3 p.m. with the champion to be crowned at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 and each ticket will come with a judging entry.


In addition to the Waffle Spot, MoJo’s, Rob’s Bayside Barbecue, Sal’s Mexican Restaurant and the Taco Man will battle for bragging rights.


“It’s a fun thing to do,” Praytor said. “For the restaurants, it’s more about bragging rights. We all get along. This time, I was super excited about getting Taco Man and Sal’s Mexican Restaurant. I’ve worked with Rob’s Barbecue and MoJo’s in the past. They are super great to work with and I’m glad to have new people to work with. That’s the idea with the chile verde, to bring in the Mexican restaurants.”


Praytor said the first Clam Chowder Cook-Off sold 400 tickets and the Cook-Off earlier this year sold about 300 tickets.


“I think, because it was during COVID, it was the only thing you could do and that’s why we sold so many tickets,” she said. “Last year, we had more promotion, time-wise. This year, it took a while to get the approval and permits so we didn’t have as much time to sell tickets. We only had about three weeks to sell tickets.”


However, Praytor hopes to get more than 300 tickets sold because they have been able to advertise a lot longer.


“Because I know how long everything takes, I got on the ball early,” she said. “I had the tickets ready since August first. People have been buying since about September. We’ve been able to promote it since August. I haven’t checked with everyone else, but we’ve sold almost 100. It’s always the last two weeks we’ll sell the most. I am expecting about 400, but hoping for 300.”


Praytor believes she has a good chance to win, but if anything, she wants to beat out MoJo’s.


“I think we’re going to win,” she said. “We’ve never had Taco Man’s chile verde. We haven’t had Rob’s or MoJo’s, either. I’m sure they are going to bring it. I am pretty confident in my chile verde. There’s a rivalry between me and Mo and we’re going to beat her.”


Proceeds will help the Pentacostal Tabernacle Church youth group. They will be at the event helping out wherever needed.


“They do all the grunt work,” Praytor said. “They will be doing the set up, running it, serving it and bringing it back. That allows the restaurant owners to be out there and talk to the people. They helped make the clam chowder run smoother. The first time we had the clam chowder, the restaurant owners were making it and serving it and it took a lot of time. It makes it really hard. It’s easy for us to step back and reach out to the community. That was my goal to begin with. it’s all about fine tuning everything and making it a bigger and greater event.”


At the Clam Chowder Cook-Off, she had six restaurants competing and five will vie for the Chile Verde Cook-Off trophy. She says she can have about seven restaurants before she has to start looking for another location.


“For this location here, we can have about seven because everything has to be spaced out,” Praytor said. “Anything more than that, we will have to find another place.”


Praytor also reminds people to not to forget the Clam Chowder Cook-off, which will happen in March.


“I will start putting in the applications in mid-December for the clam chowder cook-off in March,” she said.