There was a standout winner for the four-judge panel at this year’s Kenosha History Center chili cook-off: Chef David’s Catered Events.
“It was a unanimous decision,” said judge Mike Maki.
The judges tasted all 10 of the entries in a blind test.
In addition to the judged competition, a chili would also be given the people’s choice award, voted on by the hundreds who came in to sample the 10 chilis offered by eight Kenosha area restaurants and two fire departments.
A total of 257 ballots were cast for the event, according to Chris Allen, coordinator of marketing and events for the Kenosha History Center.
Chef David’s Catered Events took second place in the people’s choice category, while Jill’s Place took the crown. Jack’s Café at Andrea’s placed third.
The judges note the chilis’ thickness, spiciness and aftertaste, and these criteria factor into their verdict.
“We take notes and mark aspects of the chilis,” Maki said.
While there was a clear standout winner, all the chilis were good, the judges said.
“These are all very tasty and different,” said Joyce Erickson, a board member who was part of the judge panel.
This year’s winner had spice — but not too much, she said. Erickson also noted the winning chili had a fullness to it.
Chef David’s chili also featured a “premium meat,” Maki said.
This was the 11th annual cook-off, said Don Shepard, executive director of the Kenosha History Center.
The event is the center’s biggest fundraiser, and typically draws between 300 and 400 people.
Denise and Paul Sadowski came back after first sampling the chilis at last year’s event, and this time they brought her brother, Dennis Schwartz.
Early in the evening, their favorite had been the one from Bull and Bear.
Paul Sadowski said it had “a deep, rich flavor.”
Stacy Niebuhr and her fiance, Steve Frederick, brought their children to taste the chili.
“On a cold October night, you can’t go wrong with chili,” Frederick said.
Their children were excited to come.
“They’ve been asking all day when the chili competition is,” Nieburh said.
The children’s zeal surprised their parents a bit.
But Riley Niebuhr, 9, had a reasonable explanation. “The chili is really good,” she said.
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