Secretary Sue Kaiser beat out 15 competitors this weekend to take home first prize in the 30th Annual Charles ChiliFest Cook-Off. Kaiser was the winner of the “Mild” category in this crockpot extravaganza that took place at Lariat Bowling Lanes in Richfield, MN. The contest drew over 100 spectators and fans.
This was Kaiser’s second year competing in the event. Her last entry in the contest, took place “sometime in the late ‘80s” she recalls dryly. Most of the other participants compete annually.
For her efforts, Kaiser earned a spot for her name on the traveling trophy. She will have the privilege of displaying the trophy until next year’s competition. She also received a t-shirt and homemade roasted red pepper salsa as prizes.
In addition to the “Mild” category, the chili cook-off also featured another overall category for the “Peppy” or hot chilies. The contest was initially a draw until a 2-ball bowl decided the winner. The winning chili contained six different kinds of meat. Other chili competitions included “Most Curious”, “Best Named Chili”, “Most Like Mom’s”, “Most Like Hormel”, “Best Non-Chili” and others. There was also a prize awarded to the person that tried the hardest. Kaiser noted that this winner brought flashing campaign buttons and wrapped her chili pot in blinking blue lights.
Kaiser’s prizewinning chili is called White Chili. Despite the name, the ingredients actually contain plenty of green as well. Though the exact ingredients are a well-guarded secret, Kaiser revealed that the dish includes chicken, white cannellini beans, green chilies, tomatillos and red tomatoes. Kaiser also garnished each bowl with a lime slice, which she believes set her apart from the competition.
Kaiser, reflecting on her victory noted “Cooking is probably my favorite activity. I love sharing good food with people; it’s a great way to get your kudos in life.”