2014 Chili Inferno Winner!

September 11th, 2014

Roma participated in the 17th Annual Chili Inferno Cook-Off at the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival and carried away First Place in nearly every category.

Traditional Red Chili 1st Place: Roma

Green Chili 1st Place: Roma

Vegetarian Chili 1st Place: Roma

Inferno Chili 1st Place: Roma (tied)

Salsa (Pro) 1st Place: tie between Roma’s Salsa Roja & Roma’s Salsa Verde
Salsa (Pro) 3rd Place: Roma’s Mango Peach

Roma was also featured in a Daily Camera “spotlight” story about the event:

Spotlight: Roma Melrose

Roma Melrose was born in India, but she is obsessed with creating and perfecting chili and salsas.

It was actually a very natural transition, she says.

“The first time I got into salsa was because I couldn’t find anything spicy here in Colorado,” says Melrose, who previously owned the restaurant Royal Bengal Kitchen and now operates Roma’s Catering out of Longmont. “Now I just love it. Salsa is my premium love.”

It’s safe to say salsas and chilis love her back. She’s competed in and won awards at chili competitions all over the United States. At the local Inferno Chili Cook-Off, scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday as part of the Hometown Festival, she regularly wins in at least one of the categories of traditional red, green, vegetarian green, inferno or salsa.

Last year, Melrose captured four of the five. And in that fifth category, which was traditional red? She took second. That’s an impressive feat, considering the judges taste their chili samples with no foreknowledge of their creators.

“Regarding chili and salsa, the ingredients kind of dance and talk to me,” Melrose says. “People maybe think I’m weird, and no, I’m not real normal because I start talking with my spices.”

She also starts planning far in advance, including planting and growing chiles in her organic garden, then roasting her tomatoes and chiles herself. Traditional salsas in Mexico, she explains, are not “chop and drop” affairs. Most require drying, roasting, soaking, blending and/or straining.

“You have to make your salsa on your own time,” she says. “Like a song, it comes together.”

This year, what’s come together for Melrose includes her classic red chili (which is featured in many of Roma’s Catering’s burritos, sold at local Whole Foods), a vegetarian posole with fresh hominy beans and cactus, and a fiery Salsa Macha.

Impressing the celebrity judges — which this year include Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa, Boulder Fire Chief Larry Donner, University of Colorado women’s basketball coach Linda Lappe and Ginger Havlat of KBCO-FM (97.3) — is not the most important thing for Melrose, though.

“It’s not a matter of winning and losing for me,” she says, “but the fun is serving the maximum number of people food that they think is delicious. That’s the best part.”

From The Daily Camera,  8/29/2014: “Boulder Creek Hometown Festival: City welcomes fall with wacky send-off

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.