By Clint Parker
Woodfin – It’s a yearly tradition for the employees of Emerald Ridge to have a chili cook-off every year. In fact, this most recent one, held during the month of November, was their 14th annual cookoff, and while the contests and some of the judges may have changed over the years, the results are still the same – some good-tasting chili and fun for all.
This year’s winning chili was cooked by employee Caleb Braley, who said his winning chili was the result of five hours of slow cooking and lots of peppers. “I make hot chili. That’s how I like it,” he said. Asked what he thought made his chili stand out to the judges, Braley said, “A lot of different flavors and not too hot.”
While the chili might not have been “too hot” for Braley, it certainly packed some heat for some of the judges. But it was also tasty enough to win him first place.
The runner-up was Jennifer Combs, who made a sweet chili as opposed to the heat that Braley’s brought to the contest. “It was a sweet chili that I put kidney beans, light and dark, chili powder and ketchup,” said Combs.
In third place was Margret Parker with her “whatever I have at the house” chili. Both Combs and Parker let their chili cook overnight.
Judges for the contest included members of the Woodfin Fire Department and a member of the Weaverville Tribune. While other fire departments were invited, they had calls they were on and couldn’t make it to the cookoff.