First Annual Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off- Febuary 13, 2011
"Bruce Almighty" Understudy
In 2003 actor Jim Carrey played a feature reporter in "Bruce Almighty" who worked @ WKBW-TV in Buffalo, NY. In the movie he dressed up as Mark Twain for a TV LIVE-shot. Some people thought that was a strange coincidence considering I was a feature reporter working @ WKBW-TV in Buffalo, NY & on occasion I had dressed up as Mark Twain for LIVE shots. Here's a 1997 Clip Of Me on WKBW-TV, Buffalo, NY as Mark Twain being Interviewed By The Lengendary Irv Weinstein for the opening of the Mark Twain Room At The Buffalo & Erie County Library.
 
"For the past month, if you regularly watch WKBW, Channel 7, than you already know that “Bruce Almighty” stars Carrey as a Channel 7 reporter, a token funnyman (think Mike Randall before he was fulltime meteorologist) who loses patience with the job God is doing on his life.  The film has been shamelessly hyped in Buffalo (despite the fact that very little was filmed there), especially by Channel 7, whose logo is more prominently featured throughout the movie than a bad Carrey spasmodic attack.  For all of the publicity, and that rainy downtown premiere (sans any stars, go figure) you’d think the film was the reincarnation of “Citizen Kane” or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for which it borrows plenty."
- In Review by Adam Suraf  May 29, 2003







"Although offerings will not be shared with the public, Sunday's Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off will crown three top chili cooks. The idea for the competition came from the 2003 Jim Carrey movie, "Bruce Almighty," which was set in Buffalo. Carrey's character, a TV reporter, ended a broadcast with the words, "live from the Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off." Like the idea for the National Chicken Wing Festival from the movie "Osmosis Jones," "We are again knocking off Hollywood," says Cerza. TV weather forecaster Mike Randall will make an appearance as Mark Twain. Six cooks who enter their recipes in advance will be chosen to prepare their chili at the event. Chili will be tasted by a panel of judges that includes The Buffalo News' food writer Andrew Galarneau. The best meat chili, best vegetarian chili and most creative chili will be announced at 2 p.m."
-Buffalo News - February 10, 2011

Salmanca Press-February 24, 2011
[ By Rich Place ]
CATTARAUGUS — Like a musician with the natural ability to play a piano by ear, Juan Ortiz can create a sensational new recipe by simple experimentation. And like a pianist playing the next great piece of music, Ortiz’s creations can be delicious masterpieces in themselves.
Recently, the 17-year-old senior from Cattaraugus-Little Valley competed in the Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off, which was part of the Buffalo Winterfest activities on February 6. Matched up against five opponents from Buffalo, Ortiz’s “JR’s Home Grown Chili” finished second in the competition.
“I was just really there for the fun of it,” Ortiz said. “Because I think cooking is fun.”
Ortiz’s interest in cooking and his technique of shying away from cookbooks and making dishes by a trial-and-error method began about five years ago.
“My first cooking experience was when I made scrambled eggs and I experimented with a whole bunch of spices,” Ortiz said. “My mom was not too pleased when she found out I put garlic powder in the eggs.”
But the experimenting with dishes hasn’t ceased. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple grilled cheese sandwich or an elegant chicken dinner, Ortiz said he tries different spices and additions to the meals to, as famous chef Emeril Lagasse might say, “kick it up a notch.”
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