John Ernest Vineyard & Winery held their 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off Contest Saturday night, Jan. 24 at the Kopsa family winery in Tama. The winery welcomed any contestant willing to prepare their own chili for the public to judge and vote the "best." Six contestants took the challenge of preparing their best chili for the public to sample and judge.The contestants had rules and guidelines to follow in preparing their chili. The public was encouraged to participate in the contest by being the "People's Choice" award judges. With the chili contestants all in row to give out their chili samples, the public arrived and formed a sampling line. The "People's Choice" award went to Tina Boldt (Toledo) with her sweet chili served with crushed Doritos chips. Three official judges were also asked to choose a winner in the "Best Overall Chili" category. The judges were Gary Zmolek (Toledo), Lia Schulz (Waterloo) and Sheila Beach (Gilman). Samples were given to each of the judges in a blind taste test. The judges chose Betty Rutledge as the "Best Overall Chili" winner for the second year in a row! Betty prepares the more traditional form of chili and it worked! Photo Provided
The contestants were (L-R) Tina Boldt (Toledo), Patti Henle (Toledo), Kyle Barton (Des Moines), Jason Cronk (Toledo), Sara Cronk (Toledo) and Betty Rutledge (Tama).