SILER CITY — The 4th annual Chatham Chili Challenge benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Carolina and the Wren Family Center was greeted on Saturday with cooler temperatures and a slight …
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SILER CITY — The 4th annual Chatham Chili Challenge benefiting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Carolina and the Wren Family Center was greeted on Saturday with cooler temperatures and a slight breeze, perfect weather for tasting the chili creations of 12 chefs eager to win the trophy.
Valerie Harris of Welford Harris Ford in Siler City, which hosted the event, noted that this year’s Challenge may have been the biggest yet, with more sponsors supporting, more classic cars on display, more chefs cooking and more varieties of chilis than ever before.
The event is a benefit sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and hosted by Welford Harris Ford. Bill Moldovan of the Knights of Columbus put it plainly — they sponsor the event each year because organizers say “it’s the right thing to do.”
“The Knights of Columbus understand the need to support youth in the community,” said Harris.
The first place winner was first-time chili challenge entrant, the Carapella Hardin Family Chili. Christina Hardin of Pittsboro represented her family at the event as her husband, the chef, had to work. The chili contained ground beef, pork butt, chorizo, pancetta and bacon and had the option to be topped with a roasted jalapeno sour cream.
The people’s choice winner was a repeat one — Zan Evans, with his “Gator Chili.” While not taking home the judge’s trophy, Evans did get engaged to his girlfriend, Leanna Lancaster, at the event.
Second place went to Danny Webster of Pittsboro, who created a smoked brisket chili. The brisket was smoked for 15 hours in white oak with a little chipotle on top for flavor. Webster notes that last year, his chili was in the running, but wasn’t a winner so he decided to “kick it up a notch this year.” Third place went to Nick “Chef Nick” Murray with his beef chili, created with homemade ingredients and even a little bit of chocolate.
Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs and members of the Pittsboro Youth Theater also participated in the event.
Guests who wished to try the chili paid a fee and received a red “circle” sticker which allowed them the opportunity to sample as much of the 12 entrants’ chili as they wanted. The chilis were then voted on in two ways: a three-judge panel and the public choice winner, which was the chili that received the most “gold” coins from visitors with stickers.
Winners took home trophies and bragging rights while the Boys and Girls Club of Siler City received all the proceeds.
Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.