The standout event at on Friday night was easily the Chili Cook-Off. For only a dollar per person, residents could sample some of the best chili in the western suburbs.
Rose Barrett, a sophomore at , was the contest's first place winner. In addition to a trophy, Barrett took home a $500 check as well! And sure, she might have used it for Christmas presents, but this Chili Champion is donating the whole thing to her favorite LT club, the National Hispanic Institute.
"I'm thrilled," Barrett said of her win.
"I think it's in the spices—the chili powder in particular," Barrett said.
What makes the best chili La Grange Park has to offer? That's not an easy question. Some like it hot, others, not. Some like lots of peppers and others still prefer beans or beef as the main ingredient.
For judges at the Chili Cook-Off, picking a winner was a lot harder than enjoying all the different recipes.
"I think the spices are most important," said judge Jim Honan. "There were many unique ones, and it wasn't an easy choice."
Other judges agreed, and said while a little heat is nice, chili cooks need to be careful to find the right balance.
"It's texture, it's spices and it's the tenderness of the meat for me," said judge Roy Dames. "You try one and it's the best, but then you try another and you have to go back all the way through it again."
Dames said that sampling was the easiest part of his job on Friday evening.
"There were a lot of really good ones." Dames said. "It's going to be a hard choice."
Shannon Sarna and Marie Carpanzano took second place home, and Roy Cripe and Peggi Ronovsky took third place for their chili recipes.
As important as spices are in a good chili, there was one thing every cook could agree on—a little TLC.
"You need to love what you're doing," said Kris Fizer from .
A secret family recipe can't hurt either though!