BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Dozens of Chili Chefs are heating up for the eighth annual chili cookoff.
Chili connoisseurs are battling it out for a shot at the Chili World Championship this fall. Jason Blevins, Co-Chair and Event Coordinator said, "I won here, I got to go to West Virginia for the World Championship, and compete for twenty five thousand, I finished 18th out of 200 cooks."
There's some stiff competition
"We have a panel of real judges, some VIP judges, and we have over 100 judges coming," said organizer, Rae Phillips, who started the event 8 years ago. Even if you're not an expert judge, you'll still get a chance to choose your favorite in the people's choice contest.
"That means they can go around and taste the different chilis and vote on who they think is best," said Phillips.
"Oh, I think every chili cook thinks their chili is the best," added Blevins.
But what do folks like in a good chili??
"Ooh, texture," said Phillips. "Some cooks say salt wins," added Blevins. David Himelrick with the LSU Ag Center suggested using peppered plants, while Celeste Ellender added, "not too spicy." "You want a good balance," said Blevins. "Never tell you their secret," laughed Phillips.
More than a thousand are set to take a taste of all the salsa, homestyle, chili verde, and red chili. But these chefs are cooking for another cause. When asked which aspect of the cook-off is his favorite, Blevins said, "the camaraderie with the other cooks, you get to meet people from all over the country, from all different walks of life, and of course, the main thing is that it's all for charity, and that's why we're all out here, to make some money for the children's hospital."
The competition brought in nearly 18,000 dollars last year in donations--all the more reason to fire up those burners. "The most important thing is benefitting the children at our lady of the lake children's hospital and that's the reason why we do this," Phillips smiled.
The cookoff is in conjuction with the Car and Spring Garden Show. That's going to be this Saturday and Sunday (March 28 and March 29) in front of the Parker Coliseum at LSU. It goes from 10:30 to 4:30 both days.