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Viewfinder: Asbury’s Awesome Chili Cookoff Raises $2,000

March 7th, 2012
By Jenae Holtzhafer
Posted: March 5th, 2012


More than 30 participants impressed taste-testers during Asbury United Methodist Church’s fourth annual Chili Cookoff. This year’s event benefited Athletes for Christ.

Whether partial to chicken or beef, with beans or without, sweet or spicy, the variety of chilis at the fourth annual Chili Cookoff at Asbury United Methodist Church was enough to please any crowd.

Smells of spices and warmth filled the air upon entering the church’s Wesley Center Saturday, as competitors vied for the title of “People’s Choice” — in the amateur division and among the pros.

Cookoff attendees and Red Robin Mascot Red in Zumba session dancing in middle of gymnasium floor

A short Zumba lesson was included for those who needed a break from their chili tasting. “Red,” Red Robin’s bird mascot, was happy to join in. Credit: Jenae Holtzhafer

According to event coordinator Jennifer Gast, winners were:

People’s Choice – Amateur (27 participants)

First Place – Germaine Lenz, Baja Bistro Chili
Second Place – Barry and Donna Zimmerman, Deer-licious Chili
Third Place – Paul and Olivia Theisen, Wisconsin’s Wurst Chili
Fourth Place – Adam Goldner, Chris Costa, Zach Getchis, CAZ’s Chocolate Chipotle Chili
People’s Choice – Pro (four professional chefs)

First Place – Genesis Healthcare, Todd Lehman
Second Place – Red Robin, Rachael Minor

Red Robin Chef Rachael Minor and other Red Robin associates serving young Athletes for Christ participants, Red Robin Mascot Red standing next to their booth

Red Robin Chef Rachael Minor, of Nazareth, serves Athletes for Christ participants Megan Navitsky, 9, of Macungie and Emma Preh, 9, of Upper Macungie. Red Robin’s chili took second place for “People’s Choice – Pro.” Credit: Jenae Holtzhafer

A total of $2,000 in freewill donations was raised throughout the evening, benefiting Athletes for Christ. The event offered chili, cornbread, popcorn, samples of chocolate pudding and free beverages.

Some vendors such as Red Robin and Texas Roadhouse offered coupons for free meals and bags of free peanuts. Door prizes were generously distributed to lucky guests throughout the evening.

Taste-testers also had the opportunity to “Climb the Mountain” to receive a ribboned medal, if they tasted all the chili offerings.

Gast said, “We lost count after the first 30 ‘Climbed Chili Mountain’ by tasting all 31 chili offerings. I’m guessing we came close to 50, adults and children.”