The spice of life and chili

The familiar aroma of chili swept through downtown Webster City on Wednesday afternoon as nine teams vied for the top spot in a chili cookoff hosted during the RVTV event.

Randy Wunshel came up with the idea for the chili cookoff a while before the RVTV event came to Webster City. He presented Webster City Chamber Director Deb Brown with the idea for the cookoff, and they later both agreed that the RVTV event would bring more cookers and tasters.

“It’s a great way to bring the community together and get community involvement,” Wunshel said. “That’s what everybody needs to do. Get involved in your community, and you will help it grow.”

Wunshel, a former Maytag employee, said he would bring in eight pounds of chili in the morning to work and it would be gone shortly after lunch. He said he is a big fan of chili, and his three-alarm chili went home with third place from the judges.

Several community groups gathered to make entries for the cookoff. One of those groups was the Webster City Church of Christ.

“Eating food is a good thing and eating food in a community is a lot of fun,” Pastor Chad Halbach said. “Cooking in the community is fun too, and we have some cooks who are really good.”

While the cooks, including Maria Farwell and Marilyn Cart, worked hard to get their church second place overall at the event, the recipe came from Kevin Farwell of Webster City. The recipe included sausage, hamburger, bacon and much more. Some local tomatoes were also included in the recipe.

Kevin Ades, of Grid Iron Grill and Sports Lounge in Webster City, submitted two entries to the chili cookoff. One was a batch similar to what Grid Iron regularly serves at its location. The other, a much spicier variation that the restaurant makes for its Monday potato and soup bar, took the grand prize with the judges.

“We decided to bring it down and let everybody give it a try and see what they think,” Ades said. “We’re pretty proud of it.”

The winning chili had many of the basic elements in a chili mix, including beans, tomato sauce, hot chili beans, tomato chunks and juice and chili pepper. The chili also contained some bloody mary mix and some cayenne pepper.

“Whatever makes it taste the best,” Ades said. “We just kind of make it hot and taste it as we go and keep adding.”

A people’s choice award was also given to Holly Irvin.