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Events > 2018 Events > Chili Cook Off

Chili Cook Off


By Andy Costello
Photos by Mike klinger

Mission Viejo, CA April 21, 2018
If you were anywhere near Mission Viejo on Saturday afternoon and were puzzled by the wonderful aroma of simmering onions, chopped garlic and hot chilies filling the air, the delightful fragrance was wafting from the backyard of the Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge. Nine cooking teams competed for medals and bragging rights in the Lodge’s annual Chili Cook-Off. The well attended event for members and guests was again a big success and raised funds for Elks Charities. Teams competing this year were: Sven Akesson and his team cooking Vietnam Vets Jungle Chili, Dave and Kim Perry cooking Dutch Oven Chili, Dennis Boelts, John Feitz, and Kevin Lindley with their Hi-Octane, PER Dave McLeod and Exalted Ruler Mike Klinger cooking Two Amigos, John Mathers, cooking Fabulous Shrimp Chili, Roger Dietterle and his Albino Chili, Gary Schmitt cooking Buffalo Hot Chili, Dennis Lumley cooking Molly’s Magnificent Chili, and Tom Hass, Steve & Barbara Darke, and Chuck & Jean Chapman cooking Run-A-Ways Sole Cleaner Chili.

A sea of white canopies provided the shade on the Elks patio, and the warm sunny afternoon provided the perfect venue for the event. Members and guests filled picnic tables enjoying cooked-to-order burgers & hot dogs along with their favorite beverage. They tasted chili samples and enjoyed the music of DJ Roy Southerland. Then the time came for the arrival of the big red fire truck from Mission Viejo Station Engine 24. Luckily on this Saturday afternoon, the usually busy Firefighters & Paramedics of Station 24 had just enough of a break between calls to make their annual stop at the Lodge to judge the waiting chili entries. Orange County Fire Authority Capt Rich Sandford, Alex Swanson, and Paramedics Mike Curtis and Oscar Avila did this year’s honors. The Engine 24 chili experts tasted the nine entries along with plenty of ice water to put out the fires in their mouths between spoonfuls. Meanwhile, members and guests finished their samplings and cast their ballots for the People’s Choice Award.

The moment of truth arrived and the firefighters were center stage as event Chairman Andy Costello announced the winners of the Bronze, Silver and Gold medals and the People’s Choice award. Exalted Ruler Mike Klinger presented the Bronze medal to Tom Haas, Steve Darke and Chuck & Jean Chapman for their Run-A-Ways Sole Cleaner Chili. The Silver Medal went to Dave & Kim Perry for their Dutch Oven Chili, and the Gold Medal went to repeat winner Dave McLeod and ER Mike Klinger for their Two Amigos Chili. The People’s Choice award also went to Two Amigos Chili.

Chairman Costello thanked all who participated on cooking teams and those who helped with the setup and cleanup. They included: Jack & Sandy Jacobs, PER Mike and Vicky Long, Temple Liebmann, Larry Colgan, Chuck & Jean Chapman, Sven Akesson, PER Dave McLeod, ER Mike Klinger & Judy, Tom Haas, Lodge Secretary Laura Lumley, Lodge Innerguard Steve Cagnacci & Barbara Coppola, Gail Patti, Mary Ann Costello, Ken Eilers, Harvey Ohman, and Pam Mackay.