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Boxer & Gerson’s veteran culinary crew came up big again in California Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s 7th Annual Chili Cook-0ff on June 8. Chili maven Hillary Nakano (to the right of Bonta in the photo) parlayed an old recipe she continues to tweak every year into a third-place finish at the perennially high-spirited event, just a notch below the team’s runner-up position last year. She was ably assisted by fellow Boxer & Gerson attorneys Amy Shen (left above) and Dikla Dolev (right), who made the cornbread that has become almost de rigueur in better chili circles across the land, and her sister Lindsay Nakano.
More than 40 Bay Area unions and friends sent chili teams to the event, which took place at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 55 Union Hall on 15th Street in Oakland. Local 55 is comprised of Oakland & Alameda County Firefighters, who were joined as hosts by the Alameda Firefighters, IAFF Local 689, and by Bonta, who is currently serving his fourth term as the first Filipino-American ever to serve in the California Legislature.
Like many chili creatives who hold their recipes as close as they do the passwords to their financial websites, Nakano freely shares only the basic building blocks of her chili: quality ground beef, all-beef hot links and ghost pepper salt. “Unlike most entrants, my chili was spicy!” she proclaimed.
In an impressive display of gastronomic endurance, the Nakano sisters got home from their chili triumph just in time to shed their chili’d clothes and prep for seafood as they headed back out to support the 8th Annual Carpenters Union District Lodge 190 Lobster Feed that very evening. (Photographic proof below; the sisters pictured with Hillary’s husband Stuart Gwynn.) The trio joined some 250 others at the Carpenters Local 713 offices in Hayward. The event raised more than $15,000 for the Guide Dogs of America.
“We left totally stuffed,” Nakano unsurprisingly reported. “But all for good causes.”