UNMC Off the Clock - Jim Temme ... chili champ
by Karen Burbach, UNMC public relations

picture disc.For most, chili season is around the corner.

But, for Jim Temme it's a year round passion.

A card-carrying member of the International Chili Society, Temme competes regularly in chili cook offs. He finished second place at the Iowa State Chili Cookoff Contest at last month's Iowa State Fair.

"It's quite a production," Temme said of his latest competition. "They furnish the table and you bring everything else."

picture disc.
Jim Temme, left, receives a $150 check and a trophy for his second-place finish during the chili cook-off at the Iowa State Fair last month. Temme is a card-carrying member of the International Chili Society.
So Temme hauled his spices, canopy, chairs, cutting board, cook stove and sirloin steak to Des Moines, where he had three hours to make a gallon of chili to be judged on its texture, color, aroma, taste and consistency.

The Petersburg, Neb., native will return to Des Moines next year, in hopes of landing first place and the chance to participate in the World's Championship Chili Cookoff.

Below, Temme -- associate director of Radiation Science Technology Education (RSTE) program -- answers questions about his tasteful hobby.

Tell us about your chili

My chili is a special mix of chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic. The meat is usually top sirloin that has been cubed into smaller pieces. International chili competition chili has no beans.

How did you get interested in chili cookoffs?

Many years ago it was (and still is) an activity I did with my family and friends.

When did you begin to compete?

I entered my first chili cookoff more than 20 years ago, during the River City Round Up.

Do you have rivals on the chili cooking circuit?

All competitors are considered friendly competition. We will help each other out, however, we all want to win.

So no one pulls any fast ones to sabotage another's chili?

No one would purposely do harm to someone else's chili. We can do that ourselves. My 9-year-old grandson, Jacob, usually helps me. Last year he bumped my arm as I was adding salt to the chili. One judge said the chili was too salty.

How many types of chili do you make? What's your favorite?

I make chili verde (green chili), which is broth-based, and red chili, which is the traditional tomato based. I prefer the red chili with a good kick to it.

Date Published: Tuesday, October 6, 2009


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