As usual, the explosively fun Fiery Foods Festival in the North Market lit a fuse under me and my other fellow chili judges (Miriam Bowers Abbot, Johnny DiLoretto and the Hungrywoolf herself, Bethia Woolf). In fact as we spooned our ways through the 15 (!!!) chefs' entrants, I noticed: moans of pleasure mixed with grunts of "burnout," beads of sweat forming rivulets on shiny faces and silly grins all around.

Chefs check out the Fiery competition as the judges eat and score

My judges' table "mise en place"

This young lady always helps out at these competitions (her hilarious t-shirt bears a quote from the Broadway play "Next to Normal"--which tells me she's growing up rather quickly!)

Sitting at the end of the table here is the irascible "Market" Mary Martineau, whose flame of red hair was even more inspired than usual! The whole affair was a wild whirlwind, and I'm told the winner was the Pozole Chili from the fine (if new) folks at Cafe Corner.