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Chicken chili wins cook-off

Senior Connection held its annual Chili Cook-off on Feb. 11, where Tracy Cato’s chicken chili took home the top prize.

Cato is a nurse at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster and has only been making the chili for the past year and a half.

“As you can tell, I am shocked,” Cato said.

Fourteen chili recipes were entered in the competition with $100 going to the winner, $50 to second place and $25 for third place.

The winning chili was unique in many ways, as it used chicken instead of ground beef and also included cream cheese.

“It is a combination of a couple of recipes thrown together,” Cato said.

According to Cato, one of the surprise ingredients is squeezing a lime over the top.

“It adds that little extra something,” Cato said.

This was her first year entering a chili in the cook-off, and now she will return next year as the reigning champion.

Jackie Kendall finished in second place, while Pat Coe wound up in third.

Kendall is originally from Texas, where she was given the recipe for her chili about 12 years ago.

“The key is to not make it too hot, because everyone can handle that,” Kendall said. “It’s all about the spices that you put in it. Basil is a big flavor changer.” “It is the only chili that I ever make,” Kendall said.

She felt confident after many people were complimenting her chili after sampling it.

Once the results were in, it became a waiting game to see whose names were called.

“My heart was pounding really hard,” Kendall said.

The judges for the cook-off included Commissioner Jimmie Hardee, Dr. Lucy Collins and Dave Monceaux, owner of Kountry Kitchen.