The homemade chili offerings didn't last long at the , held Saturday afternoon at the . Residents and friends of the community became food critics as they tasted and talked about the dozen contestants competing to boast the "best chili in town."
"This year, the word is out," Marta Wiggins, Community Library Manager, noted of the hearty turnout and appetite of attendees. Wiggins explained that the cook-off is free and open to all as a community event, designed as a way to encourage neighbors to interact, visit the library, and have some fun together.
"It's neat to see a big turnout, neat to see the support," said Elaine Silvestro, Friends of La Crescenta Library president. The non-profit, volunteer organization donated the winner's prizes, including cookbooks and cooking tools, and supplied much of the manpower for the afternoon.
In case of a fire of the tastebuds, Kyle Heagle and Matt Winters, firefighters from the La Crescenta station, were on standby in the parking lot offering tours of their truck and stickers for kids and enthusiastic adults. "When the community wants us to come out, it's our pleasure to do so," Winters said.
As the crockpots emptied and trash bins filled with taster cups, Wiggins encouraged voters to finish up by slipping their voting tickets into the box of their favorite recipe. Traditional, extra spicy, secret recipe, and even a chili made with venison and bison were all available for judging.
"Robo Chili," prepared by members of the Falcon Robotics team, took third place to much excitement and applause. Team member Isabel Martos insisted that they didn't have a problem with too many cooks in the kitchen and lost only "a couple batches of cornbread."
Second place went to last year's winner, Shawn Harris and his "Texas Chili." "Such is life," Harris said of losing his crown, but was pleased to see his chili pot empty.
Chuck and Joanne Misetich's "Broken Arrow Chili," a secret family recipe, took top honors.
"We've been making chili for a long time," Misetich said. "I think we make good chili. And it stood up."
The library plans to hold its third chili-cook off next summer.