At our 5th annual Chili Cookoff, we had the most inventive chili entries ever! Just when we thought we had seen it all, our chili chefs rose to the challenge and made 145 judges question the sanity of trying some of the culinary creations. Thanks to our amazingly imaginative chefs for their daring and delicious chilis.

Our fantastic cooks were:

Deb Buhrow

Randy Buhrow

Brian Cotey

Katie and Gillian Fenske

Cindy Jantzi

Kiana Lee

Tim Lee (dessert chili with whipped cream, and crocodile/rabbit chili)

Christina Main and Leah Cober (coffee)

Josh Mutter (3rd place, chicken coconut curry chili)

Bruce and Laurie Storer (elk and pork chili)

Joel Vanwyck

Jenn Wiens (1st place)

Jen Wolfe (2nd place)

Paul Wolfe (5 bug chili)

Young Adults

Everyone was given a dozen beans to vote with. After everyone had a chance to sample and vote on the 16 chili entries, we weighed the bean votes. In a case where the weight of the beans was close, we counted the beans.

Third place went to Josh Mutter for his dubious entry, a chicken coconut curry chili! Come on, Josh, it was a chili cookoff, not a curry cookoff! Nevertheless, it was so delicious that the beans poured in. Second place went to Jennifer Wolfe who has the noteworthy distinction of placing in the top three for the past five years.

First place went to birthday girl Jenn Wiens for her thick and hearty chili, proving that a traditional chili will always be popular. Thanks to Jenn for going to such great effort in her nonexistent kitchen in the midst of a house reno. For her winning recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Thanks also to Kiana for creating and running the Crack the Case experience, testing our ability to decipher obscure clues in order to break into a briefcase. Finally, we are grateful to Jen King and her team for organizing this fun event. It is proving to be our most anticipated annual event for community, eating and laughter.



1lb-Lean Ground Beef
3 Honey Garlic Sausages
2 medium onions (diced)
3 – 28 oz cans of whole canned tomatoes
3 -19 oz cans of red kidney beans (drained and washed)
½ cup of sliced mushrooms
½ tbsp. of beef bovril liquid
½ tbsp. of garlic powder
2 ½ tbsp. of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of cornstarch (save until end)


  1. Remove the sausage casing from Honey Garlic Sausage
  2. Brown Lean Ground Beef and Sausage meat in large frying pan with some salt and pepper and break meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon
  3. Add onions to frying pan and soften in meat mixture
  4. Transfer meat and cooked onions to medium size crock pot
  5. Add remaining ingredients to the crock pots (except corn starch)
  6. Cook on high for 1 hour, occasionally stirring to break apart tomatoes as much as possible
  7. Cook on low for 4-6 hours (stir occasionally to further break up tomatoes)
  8. Spoon out about ½ cup of liquid from crockpot into cup. Add cornstarch to cup of liquid and stir until smooth. Then add back to crockpot and stir to thicken chili