East Orange firefighters to compete at World Championship Chili Cook-off

Photo Courtesy of Alli Sparks

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The International Chili Society has confirmed its fourth team for the inaugural Firehouse Chili Challenge, which will be held in Myrtle Beach as part of the 54th annual World Championship Chili Cook-off. The New Jersey team, called Rattling Pans, is led by Vhaashtay Ra El and represents the East Orange Fire Department.

“As a team, we have won first place, both in the judges’ and people’s choice categories, at New Jersey’s premier fire department cook-off,” Ra El said. 

She also recognized her team’s individual accolades, mentioning that team member and firefighter Robert Spriggs was recognized by the city of East Orange, via his peers, as an Unsung Hero and is a member of Rescue Company One of Tour Four, which received a unit citation from the fire department for outstanding and exemplary service. Team member and firefighter Ernest Cooke, who is also a military veteran, was appointed commanding officer of his class while attending the Essex County Public Safety Academy.

As more Firehouse teams are confirmed, they will be announced on WCCC social media throughout the year. At the event, each confirmed team will be judged by People’s Choice voting and the team with the most votes will be crowned the winner. All proceeds raised will go to the winning team’s charity of choice. The Rattling Pans are competing to donate to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. 

“Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is the charity we choose to represent,” Ra El said. “This charity is important to us because it provides first responders much-needed equipment and resources. Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has donated lifesaving and communication equipment to the East Orange Department of Emergency Services. We appreciate their work and look forward to being able to donate to their cause.”