CHICAGO — Apparently, “Mouch” wasn’t available to join his “Chicago Fire” TV co-stars “Otis,” “Herrmann” and “Joe Cruz” as celebrity judges at the real Chicago Fire Department’s annual Chili Cook-Off.
So, one of the guys organizing the shindig tapped the next best thing — me.
“Why would they pick you? Why not ‘Severide’? He’s so hot. Why would they pick you?” just about every girl I bragged to about my chili-judging status said.
Well, ladies, I can’t be sure.
Maybe pretty guys who play fictional firefighters on TV — like Taylor Kinney, for instance — have a no chili-contest judging clause in their NBC contract.
Or maybe it’s the season for one of those pre-holiday kale cleanses popular with so many celebrities. After all, the guy has to make sure his tailored firefighter outfit isn’t snug in the wrong places.
Real Chicago firefighter Kevin O’Grady knew none of those things would be an issue for a chili-lovin’ reporter like me.
“So, there’s this chili-thing …” O’Grady said before I interrupted.
“Yes. The answer is yes,” I said. “You had me at 'chili.' "
And there will be a lot of it.
More than 30 people have signed up to show off their chili-cooking best at Mo Dailey’s Pub and Grille, 6070 N. Northwest Hwy., on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 pm.
And it’s for a good cause.
The Northside Fire Brigade and Gaelic Fire Brigade teamed up to raise cash for the Ende, Menzer, Walsh and Quinn Retirees’, Widows’ and Childrens’ Assistance Fund, which gives financial assistance to the CFD’s neediest widows and orphans.
So, if you’re hungry to help a good cause, stop by Mo Dailey’s Sunday to help actors David Eigenberg (Herrmann), Joe Minoso (Joe Cruz), Yuri Sardarov (Otis) and me polish off a fire engine load of chili.
I just hope for Severide’s sake those guys aren’t filming in close quarters on Monday.
If you go: Tickets are $40 and include chili, barebecued meats, beer, wine and cocktails.