— Hundreds of wing and chili lovers came out last Sunday to participate in the Greater Honesdale Partnership's 7th Annual Wing & Chili Taste-Off, which was part of Harvest & Heritage Days, sponsored this year by The Dime Bank.
The contest which was co-sponsored by Rent-E-Vent by Rent-E-Quip drew contestants from both the private and business sectors.
Participants this year included Cottage Cafe (Cottage Café Chili); Fiesta on Main (Fiesta on Main's Explosive Mexican Wings); Hose Co. #1 (Firehouse Chili); 1st Alarm Security (Not Your Mudder's Peanut Budder Wings & Smoky Stinger Wings); Howell, Howell & Krause (Lee's Jailbreak Chili); George Knickerbocker (Seabees Can Do Chili); and Honesdale VFW Post 531 (Combat Chili and Air Force Wings).
The contest began with the Judges Choice Awards. This year's judges included Benjamin Tucker of The Wayne Independent; Michele Bonham, GHP board member, owner of MB's Shear Expressions and co-chair of the Wing & Chili Taste-Off; and Wayne County Commissioner Jonathan Fritz.
Contestants were not only challenged to bring their best flavors to the judges, but also their best presentation.
The Judges award for the best chili went to Hose Co. #1 for their Firehouse Chili, with the second going to George Knickerbocker for his Seabees Can Do Chili. The Judges award for best wings went to 1st Alarm Security for their Smokey Stinger Wings, with the close second to Fiesta on Main for their Fiesta on Main's Explosive Mexican Wings.
Best presentation to the judges is a relatively new award, now in its second year. Judges were looking for style, creativity and professionalism in the way the contestants presented their offerings for judging.
Best presentation for Chili went to Hose Co. #1 who presented their Firehouse Chili in red bowls adorned with miniature firefighter figures nestled in an actual fireman's helmet. Best presentation for wings went to 1st Alarm Security who served their Smokey Stinger Wings on a square ceramic plate, garnished with a crumbled blue cheese and an array of hot pepper slices.
The crowds had the opportunity to taste each of the participant's offerings beginning at noon. Wings sold for 50 cents each and a dollar for a 3 ounce taste of chili. After tasting as many as they wished, everyone was asked to cast their votes for the best chili, best wings, and best booth presentation.
"This year, the competition was extremely aggressive!" said Terrie Murray, GHP board member, owner of The Kitchen Center and co-chair of the Taste-Off. "The crowd was large, and this is the first year that most of the contenders sold out of wings or chili, forcing an early close to the competition. All the participants should be commended for their participation, creativity, and cooking ability."
At the end, the voters chose, in second place for Chili, George Knickerbocker. The first place People's Choice award for Chili went to VFW Post 531 for their Combat Chili.
Page 2 of 2 - In second place for best wings, the voters chose Fiesta on Main, while the first place prize went to 1st Alarm Security for their Smokey Stinger Wings. Best Booth Presentation went to VFW Post 531 whose representatives were dressed in military attire, while their booth was decorated with all sorts of military paraphernalia.
The Greater Honesdale Partnership, Rent-E-Vent by Rent-E-Quip and The Dime Bank would like to thank everyone that participated this year, and hopes to see all contenders back again next year for the 8th Annual Wing & Chili Taste-Off on Oct. 6, 2013.