4th Annual Chili Cook Off Overview

By Account Management Intern Marie Sicola 

I walked into a room saturated with crock-pots, sour cream, cheddar cheese and corn bread. The warm aroma smelled of ground beef, peppers and a hit of Guinness. Nine pots sat before me and only excitement and intense stomach yearning occupied my mind.

Which one should I try first?

Since my stomach was gargling, I decided to start with the closest one, Sarah Murphy’s Murphy’s Pot o’ Gold.” This shredded chuck roast chili gem with adobo sauce was magical and delicious, making Lucky Charms and any Irishman very proud. I worked my way down the line of simmering concoctions and landed on Colleen Festa’s
Tipped Cow.” This traditional yet new aged recipe included a gluten free beer alongside its comforting flavors. Next chili, Kelley Miller’sBuffalo Blue Cheese,” should expect Buffalo Wild Wings to come-a-knockin’ with its perfect amount of heat and blue cheese flavoring.

After three chilis down the hatch, I peeled my eyes from the next bubbling pot to see the line of three celebrity judges. Gene Cox from Channel 8, Robey Martin from Style Weekly and Lorenzo Hall from CBS 6 were hand-delivered each chili behind the Madison+Main bar, while feverishly rating each bite. I began to second-guess my own taste buds, so I quickly diverted my eyes and got back to tasting.

Kara Forbis’ “Hokie Half-Time” was next up to bat. An ode to VT football, this chili was perfect for any tailgating adventure and came with an autographed Frank Beamer helmet! Dave Saunders’Jamaican Me Crazy” dominated the visual portion of the chili competition, including a flag, an array of seasonings and a lengthy list of ingredients. However, this flavorful chili tasted more likes its cousin, the stew.

At this point, the judges had finished tasting and their votes were being calculated.  I envied their confident decision making skills. With the People’s Choice vote coming to a close, I was going to have to pick a winner. But how?!

Next up, the novice Dustin Hennessy’s “No-Name Chili.” It was simple and meaty, containing chunks of melting sirloin. Lindsey Durfee’sDrunken Pumpkin” embraced the October spirit, containing pumpkin flavoring and weighty winter consistency. Katie Hurst’sOne-Eyed Willy Chili” was the hottest of the bunch, prompting its cook to bake brownies to lessen its peppery blow. The final contender, Sammy Yatco’sMexcellente Chili” stayed true to its name, with Mexican flavors and a hint of spice.

“There are just a few moments left before the People’s Choice Award is announced. Make sure to pick your favorite!” Panic set in.

Now was the moment of truth, which one would I vote for?

And my vote goes to…. haha right, like I would ever tell you who got my vote! 🙂

But for most, best was last as “Mexcellente Chili” received the People’s Choice Award. The judges picked “One-Eyed Willy Chili” as grand champion with a $100 prize. Second place tipped in favor of “Tipped Cow” and third place saw the luck with “Murphy’s Pot o’ Gold.”

This competition was heated (literally) and I am sure that next year’s will prove even more spicy and delicious!