Chili factor: Aviator’s chili fest has ostrich on the menu

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Something spicy is cooking at Floyd Bennett Field.

Marine Park’s Aviator Sports and Events Center is stirring up a chili festival, where adventurous attendees can sample up to 15 variations on the famous stew, including an exotic ostrich chili. Aviator’s staff will be cooking up the many offerings, which are inspired by flavors from around the world.

“As a chef, I worked a lot of different places — and also lot of different countries — so I’m familiar with different spices and flavors,” said Aviator’s in-house chef Chris Tyler.

Tyler said he created the entire menu using recipes he has picked up in his travels — as well as a little ingenuity.

For instance, he is not just swapping out beef for poultry in his turkey chili. Instead, Tyler is making Jamaican-style jerk turkey chili.

Other offerings include a marinated pork shoulder chili, seafood chili, a bittersweet beer-and-chocolate chili, and even a vegetarian chili. For the iron-tongued, there will also be a “dragon’s breath” chili — which Tyler said is sure to melt your mouth.

Diners who can’t handle the heat can still chow down, with a variety of fair-style foods available — including pulled pork, hotdogs, and hamburgers — plus cotton-candy and ice cream to soothe the burn.

Tyler said the event center was initially slated to host a firehouse chili cook-off. When that fell through, the idea kept simmering in his mind, so he devised his own homage to the southwestern staple.

Admission includes chili samples, carnival games, and snacks, he said, and 35 percent of the day’s proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

“I figured what better way to promote a chili fest than to also donate to a worthy charity?” Tyler said.

“Aviator Chili Fest” at Aviator Sports and Events Center [3159 Flatbush Ave. off the Belt Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 758–7500,] March 29 from 1–6 pm. $25 ages 14 and up, $10 ages 10–13, free for kids under 10.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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