Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ASGC Chili Cook-Off: A Pictoral

Last Saturday, I had the honor and privilege of being asked back for the second year in a row to participate as one of the judges at the 2011 Greater Cleveland Chili Cook-Off For Autism. The charity event helps to fund the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland and provide support, education, and assistance to those dealing with, or are related to someone dealing with autism, a condition for which there is no known cause and no known cure.

As opposed to last year's venue at Jacob's Field, this year, the event was held at the Quickens Loan Arena on the third floor from approximately noon until 3 PM. As a judge, I was told to arrive by 11:30 AM and because I had never been to the 'Q', I decided to show up at 11:00 AM just in case. After pulling into the garage on Huron next to the Q, I made my way to the third floor, where helpfully, a skybridge connected the garage with the entrance to the event. After a quick check through security, I entered the original lounge of Bar Symon (the second location in Avon Lake now closed).

At the appointed hour, the judges gathered outside the main hall and Gus Gallucci, judge herder extraordinaire, explained how the judging would work and assigned each judge to assess four of the eleven chilies present today. Fortunately, with seven judges, we didn't each have to taste and rate all eleven.

Right at around twelve o'clock, we (the judges) entered the basketball court where all the contestants had set up shop:

2011 Greater Cleveland Chili Cook-Off for Autism at the Q
From the chili cook's point of view, each wanted to walk away with one of these bad boys:

2011 People's Choice Award
From the perspective of the chili eater, they were more interested in all of the auction and prize items that were generously donated:

Auction Items
Since I only judged four of the chilies and ate another three, I don't think I'm qualified to talk about some of them and not others. That being said, fellow food blogger and friend Nancy from Fun Playing With Food was a fellow judge and took copious notes and I'm sure that her write-up will more than fill in my woeful gaps. I'll link to her article once it goes live on her blog.

That said, I CAN at least show you who participated this year. Here's where the pictoral part of this post begins.

Ken Kostal from Big BoppersKen Kostal from Big Boppers

Shana Trepal from Treehuggers CafeShana Trepal from Treehuggers Cafe (and Mr. Gallucci enjoying some samples)

Lanny Chin from Market Cafe and DeliLarry Chin from Market Cafe and Deli in the West Side Market

Pete Dressen from Inn WaldenPete Dressen from Inn Walden

Bill Polewchek from 20 Mule Team BorrachoBill Polewchek and Fred Griffith (yes, THAT Fred Griffith) from 20 Mule Team Borracho

Michael Dehnery from Yours TrulyMichael Dehner(y) from Yours Truly
(there was some discussion as to whether his last name ended in a 'y')

Jeff Stanton from Zinc BistroJeff Stanton from Zinc Bistro along with surprised fellow judge Brian Doyle

Doug Fulton from 5 Star CateringDoug Fulton from 5 Star Catering

John Wright from PeppermillJohn Wright from Peppermill Pub and Grill

Eric Wells from Skye LaRae's Culinary ServicesEric Wells and his lovely wife from Skye LaRae's Culinary Services

Samuel Quinones from Embassy SuitesSamuel Quinones from Embassy Suites

Desserts/Breads from Lucy's Sweet SurrenderIn addition, Lucy's Sweet Surrender graciously provided these palate cleansers and sweet treats.

The Four MuskateersFinally, the Four Muskateers: Joe Harvey, Ellis Cooley, Jeff Jarrett, and Brian Doyle.

The judges awarded John Wright from Peppermill with first place and the People's Choice award went to Ken Kostal from Big Boppers. All of the chilies I tasted tonight were simply outstanding and it really was difficult to pick which one was the best because they were all so different (in fact, of the four I had to judge, there was only a four point spread between them).

By the end of the event, I was definitely "chilied out," and looking for something bland and innocuous, like Saltines, to tame the fire that burned within. Of course, the real winner here is the Autism Society of Greater Cleveland and even more importantly are the people and families it serves. I urge you to please show your support for this wonderful charity by supporting and visiting the restaurants and catering services of the contestants who participated today. While publicity is certainly a benefit to being a part of the event, I know that many of them hold the cause very close to their hearts as well.

1 comment:

Bite Buff said...

Was sorry to miss the event this year- thanks for the post!

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