Sunday, 16th December 2018

Huge Success for Shop Bellevue's 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off

Article Compliments of: Ivy Keller of The Bellevue Gazette

BELLEVUE— There’s nothing better than a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter night, and Shop Bellevue Ohio knows it. They hosted their third annual Chili Cook-off and raffle on Thursday, much to the delight of hungry locals who showed up in force to taste the best Bellevue had to offer.

For a small fee of $5, anyone could visit the Green Emerald on Main Street and try different types of chili prepared by commercial kitchens in the area— ranging from a classic and tasty mild chili to one so spicy that it could have made a fire—breathing dragon cry. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant was completely packed on Thursday night.

It wasn’t just chili, of course. Shop Bellevue included all the tasty extras that usually come with it— cheese, onions and crackers included. Sweet cornbread came complimentary with the sampler ticket, but anyone interested in more could buy an entire bowl of chili or a huge slice of cornbread just a little extra money. Copper Top Bakery also donated slices of cake. For anyone with a sweet tooth or a taste for something savory, it was just the place to be.

There were 12 different businesses serving their chili at the cook-off, as well as two special guests. The Bellevue Police Department and Fire Department volunteered as the special “celebrity guests” for the event— competing against each other to see who would come out on top.

Both departments brought out their best recipes. The Police Department cooked up an inventive venison chili while the Fire Department turned up the heat with a chili that featured ghost peppers and other spicy seasonings.

In the end, the judges just couldn’t decide which one they liked better. It came down to a coin toss between the two rivaling departments, which the Police Department won. Although it had been a serious competition up until then, there didn’t seem to be any hard feelings. The representatives from each department shook hands in a friendly gesture after the verdict was declared.
The close call between the two special guests wasn’t the only tie of the night. Tracy Hogue and Brenda Burd tied for best chili in the medium category as well. Like the police and firemen, they decided the ultimate winner with a coin toss which Hogues won.

“We’ve never had a tie before,” said Judy Miller of Shop Bellevue. “And this year we had two!”

There were three other categories that business could enter their chili in: mild, spicy and vegetarian. Mary’s Catering to Go took first place with a tasty mild chili, while Bassets took first place in vegetarian. Laurie Kahle— representing the VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary— was crowned champion for her chili in both the spicy and people’s choice categories.

As far as the recipe goes, “It’s all mine!” said Kahle with a grin. Although not everyone took home a prize on Thursday, there’s no doubt that they all brought something good to the table. “I thought everybody did a great job,” said Doug Gildenmeister, one of the three judges. “The taste was great.” Gildenmeister, Mayor Kevin Strecker and Library Director Stephanie Buchanan served as judges for the contest. They assessed each chili on four categories: aroma, color, texture and flavor. According to them, it wasn’t an easy task. The scores all came out pretty close. “They were all different, and they were all good,” agreed Buchanan.

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