Winner crowned in Really Chili chili cookoff
By Gary Popp
Published in News on October 24, 2010 1:50 AM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Amanda Stefanut samples a cup of chili during the annual chili cookoff held to raise money for the Community Soup Kitchen. Fifteen teams competed in Saturday's event.
Secret ingredients and family recipes were put to the test at the fourth annual Really Chili Challenge on Saturday in downtown Goldsboro.
Adults and children bustled from booth to booth, eating from small plastic cups filled with each of the cooking teams' own special concoction.
Ann Hunter, Soup Kitchen board member and organizer of the event, said that although she was having fun along with the rest of the attendees, that her thoughts never strayed far from the intent of the day's competition -- helping the needy.
"We hope people are walking away with the idea that maybe they want to connect somehow," Hunter said. "That maybe they want to support the Soup Kitchen financially, or maybe they want to go volunteer."
Although the day was about helping others and having fun, organizers were sure that procedure was followed to the letter.
"We are trying to follow the rules of sanctioned chili contests." Hunter said. "We are not big yet, but if we ever do get big we don't want to have been doing it wrong."
Three-time North Carolina Chili Cook-Off champion, Vickie Rice, was on hand to offer advice as chief chili dignitary and serve as a judge. Creating award-winning chili has taken Rice to competitions as far away as Las Vegas.
"I want to raise money for the people of Wayne County. I am happier when I am helping," Rice said.
And she has ambitions for the event, which has proven popular with the community.
"I want to make this bigger," Rice said. "I foresee we will outgrow Center Street."
The challenge included 15 teams vying for Best Chili, Best Booth, Best Name and People's Choice. Through a blind taste test, the chilis were judged on taste, consistency, aroma, color and bite.
The overall winner for Best Chili was Dr. Chilli's Germ Kitchen Chili. The group, employees of Immediate Care of Goldsboro, took home third place last year. Chief chef Jeff Pitta said his winning recipe is an adaptation of a 20-year-old turkey jerky recipe.
"I like to cook, and we wanted to do something good for the community," Pitta said after winning the title. "It works for everyone."
The second and third runner-ups for Best Chili were Wayne Memorial Hospital and Moore's Hillbilly Chili, respectively.
The recipe cooked up by the Wayne Memorial Hospital team was manned by three chefs from the hospital's cafeteria. To reach the event, they had to win a hospital cook-off, said chief cook Cameron Best. The hospital cafeteria's chili cook-off is taken seriously by the participants.
"Whoever wins that gets to use their chili here," said Carl Judah, another cafeteria chef.
The Best Booth, which earns points for design and creativity, was won by the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield organization. The group used the Chili Challenge to promote their upcoming Civil War re-enactment. The group added to the appeal of their booth by dressing in period clothing. A Civil War-era cannon, candle lanterns and a split-rail fence, all below a canvas tent, gave the booth a feel of authenticity.
"We wanted to offer a great camp-fire chili and show people what we do," said Jeff Bockert of the Battlefield group.
The winner of the People's Choice went to T.A. Loving Spoonful, sponsored by T.A. Loving Co. The second and third runner-ups were Tres Hombres Calientes, a group formed by employees of The Goldsboro News-Argus, and Hillbilly Chili, respectively.
Tres Hombres Calientes also won the award for Best Name.
More than 1,000 people were estimated to have turned out for the event