Whether partial to chicken or beef, with beans or without, sweet or spicy, the variety of chilis at the fourth annual Chili Cookoff at Asbury United Methodist Church was enough to please any crowd.
Smells of spices and warmth filled the air upon entering the church's Wesley Center Saturday, as competitors vied for the title of "People's Choice" -- in the amateur division and among the pros.
According to event coordinator Jennifer Gast, winners were:
People's Choice - Amateur (27 participants)
- First Place - Germaine Lenz, Baja Bistro Chili
- Second Place - Barry and Donna Zimmerman, Deer-licious Chili
- Third Place - Paul and Olivia Theisen, Wisconsin's Wurst Chili
- Fourth Place - Adam Goldner, Chris Costa, Zach Getchis, CAZ's Chocolate Chipotle Chili
People's Choice - Pro (four professional chefs)
- First Place - Genesis Healthcare, Todd Lehman
- Second Place - Red Robin, Rachael Minor
A total of $2,000 in freewill donations was raised throughout the evening, benefiting Athletes for Christ. The event offered chili, cornbread, popcorn, samples of chocolate pudding and free beverages.
Some vendors such as Red Robin and Texas Roadhouse offered coupons for free meals and bags of free peanuts. Door prizes were generously distributed to lucky guests throughout the evening.
Taste-testers also had the opportunity to "Climb the Mountain" to receive a ribboned medal, if they tasted all the chili offerings.
Gast said, "We lost count after the first 30 'Climbed Chili Mountain' by tasting all 31 chili offerings. I'm guessing we came close to 50, adults and children."