Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A pot of yum

Staff Writer | March 26, 2024 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — “What doesn’t kill you can turn your kidneys into a cinder brick.”

That’s how Gary Neu, principal engineer at Greenpoint Technologies, summed up the tasty, yet sometimes powerful, dish known as chili.

There were 10 examples of chili on offer at Greenpoint’s second publicly-judged chili cookoff Thursday, lined up in a row of slow cookers. Some were immediately recognizable as the traditional pot of red, but there were a couple of white dishes and one green one.

There were six judges brought in for the purpose: Moses Lake Police Chief Dave Sands, Columbia Bean Plant Manager Brian Olson, Grant County Commissioner Rob Jones, Moses Lake Mayor Dustin Swartz, Moses Lake Airport Director Rich Mueller and AeroTec Chief Operating Officer Justin Morigeau, formerly vice president of production at Greenpoint.

“They take their job very seriously,” said Greenpoint Administrative Assistant Amy Ward. “They taste all of the chilies, they have guidelines to go through in order to judge the different chilies. Then they go and deliberate and  they come back with the first, second and third-place chili winners.”

All the chili chefs were Greenpoint employees, and some of them put a lot of work into their creations.

“That is my dad's famous recipe, and I did my own take on it,” said Ryleigh Lindfors. “I did a bunch of onions, two different kinds of kielbasa, ground beef, breakfast sausage. And then really thin-cut steak and a bunch of beans.”

Kris Fetch’s Three-Meat Chili wasn’t just meaty, it was also home-grown.

“I used chuck roast, hamburger and bacon, cheek meat from our own cows and pigs,” Fetch said.

Lee Thompson, who took home first prize last year with a chili that took him two days, took the easy route with a concoction he called “Half-Assed Chili.”

“It’s just chicken, corn, beans and some Rotel (sauce),” he said.

The judges first sampled four kinds of cornbread, then filled up to paper cups each and went to town on the samples. While they repaired to another room to deliberate, Greenpoint team members filled their bowls as well, topping their chilies with onions, cheese, rice, corn chips and — for the very brave — jalapeños. Then the judges returned to bestow the Super Bowl-style rings that were the trophies.

Third place went to Carla Rocker for her White Chicken Chili, which she said was made from chicken breast, green chilies and enchilada sauce. Taking second was another white chili, Ward’s Award-Winning Chili.

First place went to Neu for his A-Bomb-ination Chili.

“I’d describe it as a blind date chili,” Neu said. “It’s got a great personality but it’s not much to look at.”

Neu used taco meat from Ernie’s Meats in Moses Lake, ground beef sand what he described as an excessive amount of bacon.

“That’s one of those things I keep saying but I've never found what that limit really is,” he added.

Joel Martin may be reached via email at

An earlier version of this story misspelled Gary Neu's name. It has been corrected above.

    Ryleigh Lindfors’ chili included ground beef, breakfast sausage, steak and two kinds of kielbasa. Oh, yes, and some beans and spices.
Moses Lake Airport Director Rich Mueller presents Greenpoint Principal Engineer – and Chili Master – Gary Neu with the first-place ring at Greenpoint’s chili cookoff Thursday.