ST. CHARLES – The Kane County Farm Bureau Foundation has an event planned that can appeal to chili fans everywhere.
The KCFB Foundation is hosting its National Chili Day and Cornbread Cook-Off on Feb. 22 at the KCFB office at 2N710 Randall Road, St. Charles. Judging is at 4:30 p.m. and sampling is from 5 until 6:30 p.m. or while the chili lasts.
After the success of its first cook-off last year, the event has now progressed to annual status.
“We were sitting around thinking of different ways to support the foundation,” said Liz Polovin, member services coordinator for the KCFB. “We tied it in with National Chili Day and it’s a lot more fun than doing a letter and a mailing.”
Since 1989, the KCFB Foundation has carried out charitable work in the advancement of agricultural literacy and preparing students and leaders for careers in the agricultural industry. The foundation offers scholarships to those pursuing higher education in agricultural-related fields.The funds that are raised via this tasty fundraiser will help continue the mission of the foundation.
“I think a lot of people don’t know what we do within the community,” Polovin said. “So in addition to enjoying chili and helping a good cause, they get to learn about our scholarships, literacy programs and more.”
Prizes will be awarded by categories of best homestyle, non-traditional, and wildlife chili, along with the best cornbread. A People’s Choice award will also be selected via public vote at the end of the evening. Judging will be based on the following criteria: good chili flavor, texture, consistency, blend of spices, aroma and color.
Entry forms and guidelines for the contest are available online at www.kanecfb.com/chili. Note that the deadline for applications and entry fees is quickly approaching on Feb. 16. The cost to enter is $20 for KCFB members and $30 for nonmembers while cornbread entry is free for all chili entrants and $5 for cornbread-only participants.
Deb Stob, a Country Financial representative in Geneva, won the People’s Choice award last year.
“I used a chili recipe that I have been making for the last 15 years or so,” she said “I tweak it depending on the audience, so if you have a bunch of kids, you don’t use as much spice, chili pepper or hot sauce and then I also vary the ingredients.”
Stob also has been known to mix in some wine or beer, or sometimes both.
“It depends what I have available,” she said. “I’ve taken about five different recipes and mixed them together to make my own, and it’s been trial and error.”
And apparently it’s been really good, at least that was the consensus last year.
“It’s a nice community event for a good cause with a nice hearty meal,” Stob said. “Last year I tried a smoked one, which I had never tasted before. So it’s a lot of fun, and I get to see the board members who I don’t see very often. It’s a bunch of different people, both young and old, and it’s for everyone.”