The Dunedin Chili Cook-Off was quite the event for foodies.
Vendors joined forces to bring plenty of chili mojo to the competitor arena at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Sunday, July 29. Six competitors went head to head with their creative concoctions. But in the end, judges and ball game participants would decide on one chili champion.
And with chili to suit all tastes, it couldn't have been an easy decision.
Here, I share with you my culinary journey:
I started my tasting adventure with Chef John Lewis. His chili had quite some spice with a highly-present habanero sauce flaming my taste buds. What really made the dish great for me was the avocado sour cream, which combatted the heat and made the chili simply refereshing. I was in heaven and wish I could take some of that amazing avocado sour cream home.
My next tasting was with Chef Kay and Kelly Schauck, who featured a Mexican chili. Chef Kay has over 25 years of experience catering in Oldsmar. This chili was full of flavor with a number of beans throughout, including garbanzo, black, northern, pinto and navy beans, which made a succulent blend. The mixture reminded me more of a spanish soup than my idea of chili, but was delicious nevertheless.
Marguerite's Cafe and Catering was next on my list. They had a more traditional chili that featured green bellpeppers, jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes. Although it was tasty, it didn't excite my tastebuds like some of the others.
I visited the Dunedin Patch booth next and was impressed with Katie's Vegetarian chili combo. She wouldn't share her secret ingredients with me on attempt, but I would imagine there are some great ingredients lying around the kitchen of your Dunedin Patch editor.
Following Dunedin Patch, I checked out Chef Bill Hewlett's chili creation. Chef Bill is with Road Kills TV, a traveling, cooking and comedy show. They had a very interesting concoction that included New York sirloin steak, white beans, blacked beans, cilantro, garlic, beef broth, onions, habanero sauce, ghost chili, cumin, bay leaf, chipotle and more. Although they had the most ingredients, their chili was the most watered down. It was a good attempt.
My final stop at the Dunedin chili cook-off was Eddie's Bar and Grill. Their chili featured Woodchuck Cider, pinot grigio, smoked brisket, smoked sausage, veggies, garlic roast, roasted tomatoes and avocado pulp. It was by far the most impressive mixture I have tasted in my life. Wow. I wanted to take the entire chili pot home with me. Apparently the chili was perfected over three days before the event, and it really showed. Unfortunately, this amazing chili is not available on the regular menu at Eddie's.
The Dunedin Blue Jays announced the winners of the Dunedin chili cook-off at the top of the fourth inning.
Here are the official winners:
- 1st place: Marguerite's Cafe and Catering
- 2nd place: Chef John Lewis
- 3rd place: Chef Kay
It was evident that everyone poured a piece of themselves into their chili and really tried to their best to bring a unique creation to the competition. I'm already excited for next year.