Chili for a cause

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 17, 2012

A young voter samples a entry during the People's Choice section of the competition.

United Way kicks off fund-raising with cooking

Hot or mild.

That was the debate that was waged Monday night at the Pike County United Way Chili Cookoff at Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Troy.

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Ten different recipes dotted tables, but when the judging was over one concoction stood above the rest.

Dennis Griffin, cooking on behalf of Sav-A-Life, was declared the winner by a panel of judges. Griffin said that he was hoping to just get an honorable mention, and that the overall winner was more than he ever imagined.

“This is my fist time doing anything competition wise, and to win it is just awesome,” said Griffin.

Griffin took a different route than most of the participants, in that he chose to make his chili a tad milder than the others.

Griffin’s recipe utilized sweet corn that took some spice out and added just a hint of sweetness.

“I like a little of both heat and flavor,” said Griffin. “But I don’t want the heat to be so overpowering that you can enjoy the flavor. I make mine as a ‘mild,’ meaning once it passes the tongue, you feel it.”

David Mauldin whipped up what many voters felt was the hottest of all the recipes.

Mauldin utilized a rare ingredient that gave his chili an extra kick.

“The secret to mine is Thai chili paste,” said Mauldin. “In my opinion a chili that doesn’t leave you mouth and lips a little tingly isn’t right.”

Griffin won the judged portion the night, with Keiko Clark getting second and Donna McLaney netting third in behalf of the Salvation Army.

The Pike Pioneer Museum captured that prestigious “fan’s choice” award, and said that they are more than happy with it.

“The people’s choice is the most important one,” said Kari Barley, cook for the Pioneer Museum’s entry. “Our chili is a secret family recipe that used salsa in it.”

The night ended with a silent auction.