Brindleyplace crowned its first ever Chilli Queen at last week’s annual Birmingham Chilli Festival, following a fiery chilli eating contest.
Lou Witterick, a school catering manager from Solihull, battled it out against 13 other contestants to be named the winner of the hugely popular chilli eating competition whereby participants challenged their taste buds to see who could eat the hottest chilli.
Lou, who won a year’s supply of burritos, courtesy of Mexican street food retailer, Chilaca’s based at Brindleyplace, said: “I was a little apprehensive as, although I love hot food and chillies, I was unsure just how hot they were going to be. I have to say that I didn’t find any discomfort during the competition, or after, and really enjoyed taking part. I’ve never taken part in a chilli eating competition before but will certainly be defending my title next year!”
Organised with market operator, Sketts, the Birmingham Chilli Festival – which is now in its fourth year – had a theme of celebrating chillies around the world.
As well as the chilli eating competition, the two day festival boasted a variety of food stalls (all selling chilli-inspired produce), live food demonstrations and family friendly street entertainment, including Bollywood drummers, free Latin dance lessons, a fire-eating stilt walker and live music from Mediterranean and Caribbean themed bands.
Alison Murphy, Senior Marketing Executive at Brindleyplace said: “Despite some rain, the Birmingham Chilli Festival really set temperatures soaring at Brindleyplace. What’s great about the festival is that, despite whether you’re a big fan of hot food or not, the stall holders are always on hand with advice and tips of how to use chillies in your own cooking at home – not to mention providing some delicious food as well of course! It was brilliant to see so many people come along and support this year’s festival.
“For the first time in four years, we are also proud to crown a Chilli Queen. Impressively, Lou managed to eat the infamously hot Trinidad Scorpion without even breaking a sweat!”
The success of Birmingham Chilli Festival follows the news last week that, for the second year running, Birmingham has been named the best UK destination to visit as voted for by readers of Group Leisure Magazine, beating other cities including London, Liverpool and York.
Alison said: “It’s fantastic news that the city has been recognised as one of the best cities to visit in the UK. Events like the Birmingham Chilli Festival really help to showcase the variety of events on offer in Birmingham, as well as highlighting the city as a key culinary destination.”
Brindleyplace holds a number of free family orientated events throughout the year and is now busy organising upcoming events for the Christmas period.
Photo caption - From left to right: Alison Murphy (Senior Marketing Executive – Brindleyplace), Lou Witterick – Chilli-eating Contest 2014 Winner, and Paul Whitehead, Chilli Competition organiser.