One of Pete Lopez’s favorite chili samples was made by the SUNY Delhi Culinary Arts team, he said. The team’s chili won second place in the People’s Choice Awards.
Victor Sommo, the students’ culinary professor, said the Moroccan-inspired recipe was originally developed for a different food competition. When the students heard about the Chili Bowl, he said, they decided to make a chili with the same theme and enter the competition.
Two members of the team were Robert Stack and Alexis Chamoff, both seniors at SUNY Delhi. Stack said their chili was North African-influenced and was served with cous cous and pistachios. Chamoff said it took the team approximately 6 hours to make.
Zoe and Rick VanderMeulen, of Unadilla, were excited to compete in the Chili Bowl for the first time. The couple said after winning the Unadilla Autumn Fest chili cook-off two years in a row, they decided to try their luck at the Oneonta event.
The VanderMeulens said their chili, dubbed “Grill-e-Chili,” was spicy and got its name from the way the meat, peppers and onions were cooked: on the grill. Zoe VanderMeulen said it took nearly 7 hours to make enough chili for the event.
Winner of the People’s Choice Award for the second year in a row was B Side Ballroom and Supper Club. Owner Wayne Carrington said this year the restaurant went for a “Forager Chili,” made completely from things found in the wild. Carrington said some of the ingredients were pecans, smoked rabbit and a variety of wild mushrooms. He said last year’s chili was a Latin-inspired, green chili, the only green chili at the competition, he said.
“We try to make it as authentic as possible,” Carrington said. “Everything we used was local.”
Leonard Singer and his wife Natasha said this year was their first Chili Bowl. Both work in Oneonta, but had never made it out to the event. Singer said the couple bought four bowls for the good cause, “one for her and three for me,” he said. They both agreed that Stella Luna’s chili was their favorite.