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Our Annual Chili Cook-Off Was a Blast!

The mild and sunny afternoon of Friday, March 10, was a perfect setting for the 2023 edition of the Lake Deaton United Methodist church’s Chili Cook-off. This is our third year of competition, and everyone was invited to enjoy 25 different types of chilies. According to Rev. Dr. Jim Divine, “we had a record-setting crowd this year, serving up over 50 gallons (three ounces at a time) of chili before the event ended.” JulieAnna Davis stated, “It really was a fantastic time to not only enjoy chili, but to enjoy the company of our neighbors.” Every person entering the event was given 5 tickets to vote for their favorite chili by placing their ticket in the cup for the number on the chili that they liked.

Bob Jorden explained that “the judging was done by a taste test method. Attendees rated each chili on three different measures. First, we considered the appearance of the chili. Secondly, we considered the taste…was it sweet, hot, complex? Finally, we rated our overall impression of each entry.” He added, “it was a great afternoon, and this event is always the highlight of my Spring season.”

Those in attendance had a difficult decision to make with twenty-five unique chilis ranging from smokey sweet to spicy hot, white, red, vegan and everything in between’.

First Place honors went to Daryl Rainer with his White Chicken Chile. Second Place was awarded to, Sandee Dabransky, her chili was a unique combination various meat and a secret sauce that gave her chili its distinctive taste. The third-place winner was Donna Buntemeyer with her special traditional chili, they all were accented with homemade corn muffins that seems to do the trick. After the judging there was vanilla ice cream with 10 different toppings available.

A donation was collected to help upgrade the Church kitchen.

Picture: 1st Place Daryl Rainer, DJ Leo Steffen, Event Planner: JulieAnna Davis.

Picture: 2nd Place Sandy Dabransky, DJ Leo Steffen, Event Planner: JulieAnna Davis.

Picture: 3rd Place Donna Buntemeyer, DJ Leo Steffen, Event Planner: JulieAnna Davis.

This was the second year in a row that the winner was garnered by “White Chicken Chili”. The DJ for the evening was, Leo Steffen. Leo is also known in The Villages as the performer called “The Traveling Nerd”. After the event, Rev Divine posted a “thank you to, everyone who participated and to all of those who attended and voted in our Chili Cookoff event! So, start organizing your recipes for March 2024, Lake Deaton United Methodist Church in the Villages is looking forward to having their fourth annual event.

Picture: The Winners 1st Place Daryl Rainer, 2nd Place Sandy Dabransky and 3rd Place Donna Buntemeyer, DJ Leo Steffen.

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