Monticello Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook Off
I was asked to judge the Monticello Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook Off. I had no idea what I was in for as I made the short walk from the courthouse to the opera house. I located Marianne Arbulu and she took me to meet the other judges. After saying hello to one another I was handed a black apron. It was embroidered with the event’s name. It was very nice and I was happy to hear we got to keep it once our judging duties were over.
In total there were four of us and our job was to taste each chili; score them; and determine the overall winner. We were sequestered near the stairwell and a cup of chili was brought in every few minutes. All the cups were the same and the only distinguishing feature was a number written on the white Styrofoam. The contestants were scored on a variety of criteria including appearance; smell; taste and use of an exotic ingredient. One person used chickpeas while another used creamy chicken. To say there were some interesting chilies in the competition would be an understatement. In the end the winner was a chili made by the Kiwanis Club. It consisted of large chunks of beef in a spicy red sauce. It had a good amount of heat without being overpowering.
I had a lot of fun judging the chili cook off. I thought my stomach would be churning after eating all the spicy food, but it held out pretty well. It was great to meet some new people in Monticello, Florida, and I hope I am asked to judge again next year!