Friday was the 20th annual Chili Cook Off, held by the Downtown Business Association here in Edmonton. I was lucky enough to be asked to judge the amazing chili's that were created by companies and restaurateurs alike.
I haven't heard any final numbers yet but it looked incredibly busy, here's hoping that the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters gets a hefty donation this year!
There was a grand total of 19 businesses, restaurants and non-profit groups who created a vast array of chili's for us to sample.
Business's such as these lovely ladies from Scotia Bank.
I would like to say that it is really neat to see what a radio personality looks like in real life, this is Joelle from the Bounce, and she sounds exactly the same as she does on the radio. Cheery, chirpy and cute.
And their chili was darn good.
Chef Michael Brown from the Westin aided in their award for best team spirit by ringing a classic ranch porch “come and git your vittles” triangle to entice people to try their chili.
Congrats to the Westin on their award, I also loved the decor at the table. They also won most original/innovative for their vegetarian chili, which was surprisingly the only one! I had expected a few more mixed in since chili is the perfect dish to create meatless version of.
If my feeble memory serves me correctly, this chili incorporated pumpkin pie spice, a very bold move!
I didn't get a picture of them, but 3rd place went to Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and the Winspear Centre. They used chocolate in their chili which was one of the most taste-bud tingling experiences I have had in a while, in a very good way.
The cute gals from CBC. On that note, I'll give a shout out to Liane Faulder from the Journal for facilitating the emotions of terror and elation coursing through my veins at the same time.
I did my first radio soundbite, for CBC. I think. My mind literally started buzzing with white noise when Liane told me what we were doing.
I never, ever want to hear what I sound like on the radio. I will just die.
But thank you Liane for ignoring my terror stricken, deer-in-the-headlights eyes that were pleading with you to not take me with you and making me do it. It's done, I did it and I hope I didn't sound as goofy as I felt.
You are such a pro, I am a little awestruck.
These girls had the best attitude!
And I loved their aprons!
L2 Grill, led by Chef Shane Chartrand who won 2nd place for their fantastic chicken chili with lime, I loved this chili and want to re-create it at home, what a great twist on a classic! They also received a prize for best booth thanks to their channeling of Old Hollywood glamour and their infectious energy while doing it!
And, ladies and gentlemen, the winner's of the 2010 Chili Cook Off, the Hardware Grill! This chili won first prize thanks to the delectable chunks of meat in it, I don't know what they did to them but the amazing dark brown coloring/flavor of the outside combined with the melt-in-your-mouth inside of each cube of beef was a wonder to behold.
I would like a complete bowl now, please, Hardware Grill, with some beautiful, fluffy hot biscuits on the side.
I was busy eyeballing the other judges bowls in the judging room when it came to this one, wondering if I could sneak some more.
Speaking of judges, we were (as announced at the cook off):
Liane Faulder, Food Writer, Edmonton Journal
Stanley Townsend, Program Chair of the Culinary Arts Program, NAIT
Scott Lingley, Food Columnist for SEE Magazine
Ganesh Subramanya, Executive Chef, Ramada
Karlynn Johnston, Food Blogger, thethekitchenmagpie.com
These two gentleman are Stanley and Ganesh, a pleasure to meet both very talented and knowledgeable men.
And handsome devils, too.
I didn't get pictures of Liane or Scott, the art of getting pictures of people and doing your judging job is a hard one, I managed to grab pics of the tables when doing the tour of them to judge for the spirit and best booth awards. Multi-tasking isn't my forte, somedays.
Thanks to Scott for admitting this was his first judging for a food contest as well, I think you came off as a pro and it was nice to have some newbie company!
Thanks Ganesh, Stanley and Liane for putting up with me, the newbie and being such wealths of information.
Also a last shout out to Katherine Hoy of the Downtown Business Association for inviting me, what a great time it was.
Congrats to all the teams who participated!0