What do you have when you take one part scrumptious chili, one part great music, add a dash of festive atmosphere and a pinch of cool fall weather? Give up? Why you have the recipe for one heckuva good time at this year’s 21st Annual Great Chili Cookoff at the Phoenix Hill Tavern, this Sunday Oct. 9th. It will be “simmering” from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the grounds of the Tavern, 644 Baxter Ave.
Best of all, the food and entertainment are free, according to the Hill’s webmaster and acclaimed “chili goddess,” Brooke Boyd .
“There will be between 60 to 70 contestants, divided into two categories: restaurants and individuals,” said Boyd. According to Boyd, last year’s winners were Marcia Lynch of Julep’s Catering – Sullivan University , and Jeff Teague of Lasso Chili, respectively.
Samples of the contestants fare will be served up in one ounce soufflé cups that chili enthusiasts can sample, again and again.
Music, a key element of the day, will include both outdoor sounds, weather permitting, and inside the tavern. Featured outdoors, includes, “Too Far Gone,” and “Rock Bottom.” Inside the tavern in the Saloon, the Hill’s main stage, “Junction Creek,” and “Grindstone,” are among the featured acts. While on the Roof Garden, “Another Test Failed,” and “The Shamble Kings” will entertain the crowd.
And what would a chili cookoff be without celebrity judges? This one includes five notables from the local media including: Ben Pine, WHAS 11-TV meteorologist; Dawn Gee, WAVE 3-TV anchor; Kendrick Haskins, WAVE 3 -TV weekend sports anchor; and Courier-Journal columnists Ken Neuhauser and Christa Ritchie
The judges will be basing their decisions on five criteria: 1.) density; 2.) well-blended flavor; 3.) zesty use of spices; 4.) aroma; and 5.) aftertaste.
Prizes? The have those, too. First prize for the restaurant division will be $1,000 worth of advertising on radio station WAMZ, plus $400 in cash and a trophy. First prize for the individual’s division will be a vacation for two to the Bahamas , airfare for two, $400 in cash and a trophy.
The owner of Phoenix Hill Tavern, Ben Rogers, was asked why the Chili Cookoff is so important and why it is so successful?
“It has become a community tradition and a neighborhood celebration and our longest running event,” said Rogers . “It takes constant effort every year, hard work and of course, our contestants’ being so passionate for making great chili and great outdoor music.”
Photo: Courtesy of Phoenix Hill Tavern