Friendly competition at the classic city chili cook-off
Four Athens and HW Creative Marketing hosted their first ever chili cook-off on October 15 in the Classic City from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The idea for the event started with HW Creative Marketing, an Athens-based company focused on inbound marketing and creative web design, and their
senior partner Richie Knight.
“Well, I had been to a chili cook-off here in town a couple years ago that they decided not to do anymore,” Knight said. “I love cooking chili. I love eating chili, so I wanted to bring it back. We decided let’s put it one ourselves and find a good partner to benefit.”
The tech company has been heavily involved with the Four Athens community since they first arrived in 2010. They sponsored the event in order to support the group of local technological start-ups within Four Athens.
Three restaurants participated – The National, The Place, and Pulaski Heights. There were a total of 16 different chilis including the contributions from restaurants. A number of Four Athens start-ups also took part in the friendly competition, which contained four chili different divisions. Chili contributors had their choice in entering the best classic, best veggie, best flaming, or best restaurant chili categories.
David Ducrest , the lead software engineer at Cogent Education, also took part in the event because his company is a Four Athens incubator. According to him, Four Athens was nice enough to share the invite, and he was eager to prepare some chili.
“I love making chili. I love food, so it seemed like a great opportunity, a lot of fun,” Ducrest said. “We started pretty early. It was about an eight hour process.”
Ducrest created an onion-based chili combined with a variation of seasoned meats. Him and his boss found inspiration for the recipe through their love for Curry, and their chili was the first to run out.
JT Jobe, the founder of Axon, also made up a batch of chili. Rather than entering into the classic category like Ducrest, he took the flaming route.
“This is my first time making chili actually,” Jobe said. “I think I had some beginner’s luck because I’ve been told it’s pretty good. I found a recipe online. I knew we wanted to be in the spicy category, so I found a spicy recipe and followed it mostly but added a few things.
“We threw in a bunch of peppers, but we balanced it out – and I’ve never seen this anywhere, I just kind of made it up on my own – with pineapple. I’ve never heard of anyone putting pineapple in chili before, but we did it, and I think it turned out really well.”
Jobe ended up taking it home for the best flaming chili, and overall, the event was a success. The turnout was out of the ordinary for a Thursday afternoon. Around 200 people attended the event, and the two organizations raised a total of one thousand dollars.