Chamber Spices Things Up At Chili Cook-Off


By CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser

As usual The Heritage at Milford hosted another wonderful Chili Cook-off, decorating their bistro in appropriate western style, offering music and dancing by D.J. Mike Warren and inviting Photographer Mike Baker (C.M. Baker Photography) back to the event. Mikes provided everyone with complimentary pictures, and gave us an opportunity to choose which western themed background we wanted used in our photo.

The event started at 11:30 a.m., with the judges sequestered in a private room ready to taste all the entries and vote for their favorite chili in the Chef category and Chef Wanna-Be category.

The judges this year included CCGM President Fred Rohm, Kelly Sylvester with WSFS, Claudia Pena Porretti from People’s Place, Jan Clapp with Del-Tech Terry Campus and Marlene Duffy with the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. All of the judges say they had a great time tasting all the chili, and were honored to be asked to be a judge. The Heritage at Milford provided gifts for each of the judges for their hard work.

The Chili Cook-off was open to Chefs, and what we called the “Chef Wanna-Be’s”.
Chef Ryan Cunningham, from Abbott’s Grill was back to avenge his title. When D.J. Mike asked him about his ingredients, Chef Ryan mentioned he added a few new things this year, making his chili different than the batch he entered last year.

Chris, from Mr. Bar B Que, Franco from Mama Maria Italian Restaurant and Joe from Capriotti’s joined Ryan in the Chef Category. I tasted all the entries and what a tough job to choose a first place winner. All the entries had unique flavors, were very different and mighty tasty

In the Wanna-Be’s Category Steve from Cool 101.3 was hoping for a third-year first place prize. Like Chef Ryan, Steve changed his chili a bit, adding bison to his list of ingredients. Lora, from Gooden’s Floral, Elmer from the Milford Little League and Angi from the Milford Chronicle joined Steve in the Wanna-Be category. Again, I was glad not to be a judge. These “Wanna Be’s” can cook really well too. I’m sure when they have home parties their friends and family ask them to make chili.

Before the first place winners were announced, members and friends of the chamber had the opportunity to sample all the entries. About thirty people took advantage of the networking, the music, free photos and a free lunch. Many of the people I spoke with said they really enjoyed the event and can’t wait until next year. Some even said they may enter their chili in the contest. Others said they would like to be a judge.

Congratulations to Chef Ryan, from Abbott’s Grill and Lora Gooden, owner of Gooden’s Floral, for taking top prize. Thanks to everyone who participated, and a very special thank you to Cheryl, Vickie and the rest of the group from The Heritage at Milford for doing such a great job hosting the event. For more information about the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford or any of our wonderful events call 422.3344, or email

Chris & Cameron Young with Mr. Bar B Que & Amber & Elmer Walls with Milford Little League

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