Chilli champ knows how to ‘handle the heat’

Chief Petty Officer Second Class Chris Carisse who won this year's NDWCC Chilli Cookoff.

Chief Petty Officer Second Class Chris Carisse who won this year’s NDWCC Chilli Cookoff.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer 
The CFB Esquimalt’s Great Chilli Cookoff winner has some important culinary advice for would-be chefs attempting to achieve taste bud nirvana.

The Naval Communicator at Sea Training Pacific (STP) took the top prize in the third annual Great Chilli Cookoff at STP last fall. He shared a few chilli cooking tips with the Lookout to mark the National Chilli Day on Feb. 22, observed mostly down south.

“Don’t make it too spicy,” cautions Chief Petty Officer Second Class (CPO2) Chris Carisse. “Most loved that my dish wasn’t too spicy and liked to add their accoutrements to compliment the chilli.”

CPO2 Carisse says cooking comfort foods in the home kitchen or on the backyard BBQ is pure enjoyment and a great way to unwind from work. He helps deliver operational-focused training for HMC ships as they progress through Tiered Readiness Programs.

While he has no formal training in cooking, CPO2 Carisse admits he learned more than a few cooking tips from his son Shay, who is a Red Seal Chef.

He is convinced his creation’s lack of spicy heat made all the difference in the contest. While he refuses to divulge the full details of his secret family recipe, CPO2 Carisse says the key to a good chilli sauce base is a good amount of garlic, while adding some coffee and brown sugar helped tantalize the taste buds of those participating. 

“I am no health expert, but I would say that chilli is certainly a comfort food that most can identify with; it also provides some good nutritional benefits,” said CPO2 Carisse. “It is always a hit for me at potluck dinners and family gatherings, and I would say good food and friends create good memories, and chilli certainly falls into this category.” 

The Great Chilli Cookoff bubbled to fruition at STP, supporting the National Defence Workplace Charitable Campaign (NDWCC), the Base’s annual charitable drive.

It was organized by CPO2 Ryan Kristiansen, the unit’s Sonar Chief. He and six other members whipped up their dishes of varied styles and tastes, ranging from vegetarian to over-the-top smoked and everything in between.

“I was absolutely surprised to win because the other entries also tasted amazing,” CPO2 Carisse said.

His competitors and coworkers, Sea Training, were impressed by CPO2 Carisse’s dish.

“As a young chilli-making entrepreneur, I always look forward to learning from the great chilli masters,” said CPO2 Justin Perreault, a Weapons Engineering Technician (WENG) by trade, whose creation came in second place. “CPO2 Carisse’s submission had the perfect balance of seasonings, meat, beans and accoutrements that you can look forward to enjoying during a cold rainy day in Victoria.”

The unit’s Sonar Chief, CPO2 Ryan Kristiansen, says he also remembers CPO2 Carisse’s creation very well.

“It was a hearty meal of chilli with some unique Mexican fusion [cooking] which brought an explosion of flavours to the palate,” said Kristiansen. “The queso [cheese] added a nice creamy taste to the dish while guacamole salsa was the kicker which brought everyone to flavour town.”

In the end, STP’s Great Chilli Cookoff contributed over $260.00 to the NDWCC while also earning a few tomato sauce stains.

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