It was a beautiful day for a chili cook-off Saturday—and for those of us who are better at eating, a beautiful day for an eat-off.
Ierna's Bring the Heat chili cook-off drew a steady crowd of hungry tasters throughout the day.
Celebrity judges at the event included Paula O'Neil, Pasco County clerk and comptroller; NFL player Anthony Becht; Dave Andrechuck of the Tampa Bay Lightning; Jack Mariano, Pasco County commissioner; Dr. Dae Sheridan; Ron Oakley, candidate for Pasco County commissioner and Rich Elmhorst of Bay News 9.
"We wanted something unique," Loran Tripp, director of public relations and marketing for Ierna's, said in a previous Patch interview. "There's a lot of golf tournaments and clay shoots and events out there, but there aren't a lot of chili cook-offs in the area."
The grand prize of $500 went to the chili with the most votes from the crowd: "Team Wreck."
The Judges' Choice award went to Learning Gate Community School's "Team Gates."
The Hottest Chili award went to Working Women of Tampa Bay; Ladies' Choice went to "Inspector's Best," and the Academy Award—sponsored by Intensity Academy—went to The Milk and Honey Tea Room.
The money raised from the cookoff will go toward installing an HVAC system in the home of a family in need. The selection process is ongoing; the name of the family chosen will be announced on March 15, Tripp said.