The results are in! The second annual MERIT chili cook-off was held Thursday, February 20th. Despite the awful winter weather outside, inside the MERIT hub in the 109 suite of Teacher Education, it was medium, hot, and off-the-charts! We saw an increase in participation over last year's event - 2014 had a record number of tasters, and a record number of entries. Congratulations to all the participants, and thank you to all those who tested the chilis. See below for results and meaningful data relative to the competition.
6 - Number of chilis entered in the competition
25 - Number of tasters/voters
1 - Google Glass that a MERIT staff member brought in to try out
12 - Number of months of bragging rights for the winner
1 - Number of red pepper necklaces worn
5 - In dollars, how much the fabulous red pepper hanging decorations cost
5 - Number of entries that included corn in the chili
1 - Number of entries made with smoked pork
2 - Number of entries that included beer, tequila, or both
22 - Number of tasters that tested the chili in alphabetical order
2 - Number of tasters who tested the chili in order of hotness
1 - Number of chilis that changed on the hotness scale once the competition began
47 - Number of times Jason P. stirred his entry in the hours before the competition
2 - Number of times this author stirred her entry in the hours before the competition
1 - Number of meetings this author was in so she couldn't stir her entry more than two times
9 - Number of times the reigning champion said he was nervous because this year's competition was so close
0 - Number of same recipes as last year
4 - Number of new individuals entering the competition this year
Receiving a hearty congratulations and a pat on the back, tieing for honorable mention (in no particular order, especially because one of these individuals is this author's boss)
Dan Jacobsohn - "Max's Zero Alarm Chili" a wonderful blend of veggies, ground beef and spices. The surprise ingredient in this chili was black olives.
Christian Schmieder - "Chili is Just Alright with Me" rated as medium, but had an afterkick that may warrant a rating just a bit higher.
Tieing for 3rd place, a repeat participant, and MERIT's newest staff member! I'll let you decide who is who.
Jason Paulson - "What's a Recipe?" Rated between Medium and Hot, this chili had a nice depth of flavor. Jason deserves an award just for getting the chili to the competition. He walked 2 miles in the snow (barefoot), carrying his crock pot. Well done.
Barb Smith Simons (in the interest of full disclosure, that is me) - "Let's Give it Another Shot...of Something" Rated as medium, this chili had the tequila, agave ale, and lime. This participant also had a lot of fun making the chili. Just saying.
In a very close second, the inaugeral champion, Jason Erdmann - "BBQ Pulled Pork Chili". The weather made it difficult to fire up his smoker, but this champion knows how to get 'er done. This year's entry was a little milder than last years, however it was still high on the MERIT pepper scale.
The 2014 winner, by a single vote, is Anna Lewis! - "Ancient Chinese Secret, (JK)" This was a unique blend of what tasted like a roasted brisket, honey, and fabulousness. This author went back to this one for seconds, and is not too proud to say that she voted for this chili as well.
NOTE: There may be an asterisk next to this year's results, as it seems that Anna Lewis used the Google Glass technology whilst slicing the veggies. The rule book doesn't include such new technologies, in fact, the actual MERIT Chili Cook0off Official Rule Book doesn't even exist.
Congratulations to all! And for those of you who have actually read this article to the end, thank you.