By Amy Wenk

It’s about to get hotter in Sandy Springs.

On Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. to noon, the Sandy Springs Farmers Market will host the “Guns and Hoses Chili Showdown.”

The event will pit the city’s police officers against its firefighters. Only the most mouthwatering chili will prevail.

“This is going to be a very competitive chili showdown,” said Andy Bauman, who started the farmers market in May with Jeffrey Langfelder. The market is held Saturday mornings in the former Target parking lot at the corner of Sandy Springs Circle and Johnson Ferry Road.

“It will be a very friendly competition.”
– Chief Jack McElfish, Sandy Springs Fire Chief

“The fire stations are, of course, well-known for their cooking prowess, but we have heard a lot of smack talk from Chief Terry Sult and other members of the police department regarding ‘50-plus-year family recipes,’” Bauman said. “Safe to say, while this is all for a good cause, a year’s worth of bragging rights is at stake in this event!”

The upcoming showdown has certainly brought out the competition between the city’s two chiefs.

“He doesn’t know how to cook,” Sult said to Fire Chief Jack McElfish at a recent meeting. “Tell him chili powder goes into chili.”

“He’s a smart butt,” McElfish replied. He said the three teams of firefighters “will be the best.”

“It will be a very friendly competition,” McElfish said.

Both of the chiefs’ wives will be cooking for their husbands.

Rhonda Sult said she will cook her great-grandmother’s chili.

“It’s an old family recipe, and it has special ingredients for real,” Rhonda said. “It’s very, very good. Whenever I take it somewhere, someone always wants the recipe. I normally don’t give it to them. I normally just bake them up a batch and let them freeze it up.”

Joyce McElfish could not be reached for comment.

Whole Foods Market in Sandy Springs is sponsoring the chili cook-off, which includes a silent auction, music and activities for children.

For $5, people can taste the chili and vote for the winner. Money collected will go to the Sandy Springs Police Benevolent Fund, as well as the fire department.

“It’s going to be a fun event,” Bauman said. “As a former New Yorker … to be able to do something on 9/11 is really special.”