23 community chefs put their chili to the test at first United Way Chilly Cook-Off
As the warm comforting aroma of chili filled the air, more than 200 community members gathered to sample chili prepared by 23 local chefs. The inaugural United Way Chilly Cook-Off took place on Saturday, January 11, and brought together chefs from novice and seasoned home cooks to professionals to showcase their skills and share their chili with the community while competing for coveted prizes. This event was part of Freezefest, a community winter celebration that featured world-class ice carvers and a full lineup of winter activities.
A wide range of heat levels and varieties of chili were available from vegan to meaty and low heat to scorching.
Attendees voted for their favorite and awarded Neville “Fire Lord” Vaughan’s “Chile De Bomberos” as the winner. His recipe will be featured on the menu at The Chocolate Moose through the end of February.
Additionally, a panel of six judges comprised of Bloomington Firefighters rated each chili on appearance, aroma, consistency, taste, and heat. This team awarded winners for Best Overall, Best Vegetarian, Hottest, and Most Creative.
United Way Chilly Cook-Off Winners:
People’s Choice: Neville "Fire Lord" Vaughan (City of Bloomington Fire Department): Chile De Bomberos
Best Overall: Caleb Freeman & Adam Crotzer (Ivy Tech Community College): Chili the Kid
Best Vegetarian: Trent & Kyla Cox Deckard (Monroe County Council): Vegetarian Chili Begins with Trent
Hottest (while also being flavorful): Ross Miller & Nick Craig (Ivy Tech Community College): The Crying Creole
Most Creative: Caleb Freeman & Adam Crotzer (Ivy Tech Community College): Chili the Kid
Matt "The Mule" Muehling, Bloomington Fire Department Sergeant, won the “Some Like It Hot” Chili Eating Contest consuming 32 oz of spicy chili in 60 seconds!
The roster of Chilly Cook-Off Chefs included:
- Mark Adams (Bill C. Brown Associates): My First Attempt at Chili Chili
- Skip Daley: Skip's Seven Bean Chili
- Scot Davidson (Old National Bank): Best Ever
- Chris & Megan Davis: Rambogatorsaurusrexopus
- Trent & Kyla Cox Deckard (Monroe County Council): Vegetarian Chili Begins with Trent
- Allen Edwards (Ivy Tech Community College): Green Chicken Chili
- Samantha Ezzo: Rooftop Chili
- Caleb Freeman & Adam Crotzer (Ivy Tech Community College): Chili the Kid
- Jerry Hays (Owen County State Bank): Jerry's Special Recipe
- Vic Kelson: Meaty Bowl o' Red Chili
- Ross Miller & Nick Craig (Ivy Tech Community College): The Crying Creole
- Charlie Monticue: Frito Chili
- Sarah Portwood: Pumpkin Spice Chili
- Andrew & Erin Predmore: Gus and Woodrow's Lonesome Dove Chili
- Mark Richardson: Sheep Thrills
- Jennifer Ryan: Smoked Brisket Chili
- Jennifer Sims: Jenni's Sweet Heat
- Neville "Fire Lord" Vaughan (City of Bloomington Fire Department): Chile De Bomberos
- Grant Volkmar & Shavon Watson: Goshdarnit, This One Good
- Jessica Weathers (Little Red Wagon): "Life is Gourd" Chili
- Laura Webb: The Big Red
- Victoria Wisley: Chicken Chili Bang Bang
The event also featured live music by Charlie Jesseph and ice cream dessert generously provided by The Chocolate Moose.
United Way deeply thanks Ring of Fire Sponsors -- Indiana University O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Old National Bank; and Grateful Red Sponsors -- Bunger and Robertson; Chocolate Moose; Coca-Cola Consolidated; Indiana University Political and Civic Engagement Program; Printpack; Taft Stettinius and Hollister, LLP for their support of the Chilly Cook-Off.
All proceeds from the Chilly Cook-Off benefited United Way.
United Way of Monroe County is a nonprofit organization that improves people’s lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through its Community Action Fund and grant initiatives, United Way works with 24 member agencies and community partners to ensure everyone has opportunities and can meet basic living needs. For more information, visit www.MonroeUnitedWay.org.