Sweet trumped spicy at this year’s Whitestone chili cook-off.
Grace Episcopal Church hosted its second annual cook-off, warming up attendees on a snowy Saturday, Jan. 25.
Founder Nicholas Irons started the cook-off to raise money for the church during the winter. He said the parish hosts spring, summer and fall events, but was missing something during the colder months.
Irons, who took home the winning trophy last year, had to relinquish his victor title after his mother, Nancy Irons, was voted best chili this time around.
“Now he’ll have to look at [the trophy] when he comes to my house,” she said, laughing.
The pre-kindergarten teacher said she decided to enter her sweet chili after other contestants dropped out. Her batch is described as “the kitchen sink,” including everything from leftover Chinese duck sauce, to Taco Bell sauce packets, to brown sugar and pink pinto beans.
She was all smiles after attendees voted hers the top chili and exclaimed she was “shocked” as she clutched the winners trophy.
Throughout the event, taste testers coming through were charged $5, and an additional $2 if they wanted extra chili. They were given voter cards to pick their two favorites out of eight different chilis. All proceeds went to benefit church programs, including its food pantry and thrift shop.
Local businesses also made an appearance, including a speech pathology organization, which spoke with parents at the event, as well as Cakes by Antonette to share its baked goods.
“It’s a lot of fun and it brings people together,” said James Curzio, who was awarded second place with his German-style chili. “Everybody was a little different. Everybody has their own thing they brought to the table.”