A source who wished to remain anonymous said the judging at the 8th Annual Chili Cook Off in Brentsville went off better this year than it did last year.
According to the source, last year’s contest was plagued with scoring irregularities and misunderstanding that may have ruffled some feathers among some of the chili chefs.
“The rumor was that the people that totalled the score didn’t pay attention to what the fine print said,” said the unidentified man who is close to the inner workings of the Friends of the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre that hosted the cookoff in Brentsville Saturday.
Apparently, some of last year’s judges may have gotten confused as to how to score the contest.
“The people that got the high score won, when really, it should have been the people with the low score that won,” the source said.
“The worst chili won. That’s the rumor, but that’s a terrible rumor,” he said.
“All the chili’s good,” he said.
This year all eyes were on county supervisors Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, and Wally Covington, R- Brentsville; Buck Waters, chairman of the Prince William Convention Visitors Bureau; and Ron Turner of the Prince William Historical Commission, as they judged chilis with beef, chilis with chicken and chilis with chicken and sausage.
There were medium chilis, hot chilis, very hot chilis, sweet and tangy chili, one veggie chili and one Weight Watcher’s chili.
In all, 19 chili chefs brought their best dishes to the game. Halfway through the contest, the judges had no complaints.
Gladys Eanes, one of the event coordinators who kept samples coming , had nothing but praise for the panel of judges.
“It’s fun these judges are good people,” she said.
The judges all said they could go for a bowl of complimentary chili in spite of all the samples and the occasional palate-cleansing scoop of vanilla ice cream they consumed during the judging.
Susan Morrow won first place with her ground beef chili.
“It’s exciting to be recognized. I’ve never won a contest for anything,” the Manassas veterinarian said.
Morrow would not give the particulars of her recipe that consisted of lima beans, black beans, chili beans, cumin and chili powder.
“I started with a recipe but now I just throw this in, throw that in. I don’t follow a real recipe. That makes the best kind of chili,” the 32-year-old Morrow said.
Gary Moody took second place with his chicken and sausage chili with chick peas.
He said his chili wouldn’t have won without the stirring and cooking help from his grandchildren Rachel Lee, 4, and Joshua Lee, 7.
Betty Machen, a 66-year-old cemetery manager, said her third-place win was “pretty good.”