Ethan Stowell’s Infamous Cook-Offs for Charity are Back


Ballard—Ethan Stowell is bringing back the cook-off! Way back in 2006, he hosted the first Chili Challenge at Union, and for years, the raucous and tasty competitions continued, putting dozens of chefs’ and home cooks’ secret recipes to the test and raising thousands for charity. The first of the 2013 cook-offs—Chili—will be on Sunday, February 24, at Tavolàta. Stowell has rounded up a gang of local chefs and food enthusiasts friends that are up to the challenge, and they’ll each prepare a batch of chili from their own favorite top-secret recipe.

Some of the professional competitors include: Manny Arce of Poquitos, Jim Romdall and Cameo Roberts of Vessel, and Dan Braun of Oliver’s Twist. Some of the non-pros include: David LeClaire of Wine World, The Brothers Yeh (Rocky and Ryan), Darren Vengroff (who holds the Gumbo title from January of 2008), and Kevin Erickson of Moshi Moshi fame.

Guests will be given a scorecard to taste and rate all the different pots of chili as the evening goes along, and the winner will receive, aside from international fame and fortune, a $200 gift card to Ethan Stowell Restaurants. The cook-off begins at 6pm and cost is $50/person. The cost includes tons of top-notch chili, salad, garlic bread, and tap beer. Smack talk is most definitely encouraged. Reservations are highly recommended, as previous cook-offs have consistently sold out. For reservations, please call Tavolàta at 206.838.8008.

In the past, these cook-offs—ranging from Fried Chicken Frenzy to Meatloaf Madness—have been wildly popular and included scores of local chefs such as Renee Erickson of The Walrus and The Carpenter, Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe, Mark Fuller of Ma’no Fried Chicken & Whisky, and Bill “Oyster Bill” Whitbeck from Taylor Shellfish—to name just a few. Home cooks have been known to smoke the pros, and most of the cook-offs center around down home classics—gumbo, mac and cheese, chowder, and the like. Past cook-offs raised thousand of dollars for charities including the Boys and Girls Club of King County, PAWS, Northwest Harvest, FareStart, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Seattle Children’s Theatre.

Save the Date:
Sunday, June 16— BBQ (Father’s Day)
Sunday, September 15— Fried Chicken
Sunday, November 17—Mac and Cheese

The Fetal Health Foundation is a 501(c)(3), national non-profit and the only one of its kind serving as a liaison between families whose babies are diagnosed with intrauterine fetal syndromes and the medical teams that provide their care. Since inception in 2006, Fetal Health has provided support and information through its online repository of fetal diagnostic information, as well as financially supporting more than 300 families through Travel Grants when immediate travel for lifesaving treatment has been necessary. Fetal Health focuses on providing parents with information to help them serve as the best advocates for their babies and their families. For more information, visit

Opened in January of 2007 by chef Ethan Stowell, Tavolàta is an urban Italian eatery located at 2323 Second Avenue in Seattle’s bustling Belltown neighborhood. Sublime house made pastas, simple Italian cuisine, and a 30-foot communal table (tavolàta) that runs down the center of the narrow room keeps the crowds coming back. Tavolàta offers a full bar and a selection of Northwest and Italian wines. Tavolàta serves dinner seven nights a week from 5pm to 11pm. A happy hour bar menu is offered from 5pm – 7pm every evening. Tavolàta has a small patio for seasonal dining. For more information or reservations, call 206.838.8008 or visit

Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *