Amateur chefs from around the region came together at Ridge Ferry Park on Saturday to see who could come up with the best entry in the 2012 Trout Unlimited Chili Cookoff.
This year’s first place winner for Judges’ Choice was Hubey’s Chili, followed in second by Hillbilly Chili, and the third place winner went missing after the event Saturday and did not claim the prize. Organizers said the $200 check and trophy prize is still available and can be picked up with verification of their ticket. If the team can be found, they can call Paul Diprima at 706-766-5083.
The Cook’s Choice winner was Dawg Pound Chili, Best Cook Site went to River City Antique Mall’s team, and the People’s Choice winner was Fat Pat and Tubby’s “T-Bone” Chili.
The Saturday event was held to raise money for Trout Unlimited, but the real winners were the chili fans like Jill Davis.
Davis found her favorite chili right away — the same one she’s enjoyed in years past — Fat Pat and Tubby’s “T-Bone” Chili.
“It’s not too hot; it’s not peppery,” she said. “And it’s not runny. Some of them are really liquefied, which is not good.”
Then there are those who never like to taste the same chili twice. Chili cookoff veteran and Douglasville resident Dave Gray said that when he cooks chili, he never likes to use the same recipe twice. He joked, before admitting that his chili featured both beef and pork, that it contained armadillo.
“I’m an opportunist,” he said. “If I have it, I’ll cook it.”
Gray said his love for making “freestyle” chili comes from being able to experiment with flavors and ingredients normally not found in chili. But he also said it was good to be charitable even though the cookoff can “cost me a fortune.”
“It’s all for a good cause,” Gray said. “And everyone wants good fish and good water.”
Trout Unlimited works to protect and restore watersheds and wildlife habitats around the U.S. and also helps to fund the Rome-Floyd E.C.O. River Education Center at Ridge Ferry Park and the Arrowhead Wildlife Education Center in Armuchee.