Chili chefs from across the Midwest will brew up their secret, spicy recipes in the southwestern Iowa town of Atlantic this holiday weekend. Mark Johnson is helping organize “Chili in the Cornfield,” one 200 chili cook-offs being held around the globe. Johnson won the right to compete in last year’s world chili cook-off and says this event in Atlantic is a sort of qualifying round for the bigger title.
To take part in the world contest, you have to win at one of the smaller events. He says anyone can take part in this contest and once you’ve won a contest, you don’t have to qualify again. Johnson says with the world finals in October, he expects a lot of participants in Atlantic so they can try to qualify for the big event. He says whether you’re making traditional red chili or chili verde, there are a few rules that must be followed.
There can be no beans and no pasta, as traditional chili didn’t contain those items, plus, judges who eat beans will only taste the beans, not the meat, sauce and spices. There’s also a salsa competition. Top prize is 500-dollars and the chance to compete for the 25-thousand dollar world chili prize in October.
Johnson says there’ll be entertainment on several levels, including the “Little Miss Chili Pepper” contest. The chili is cooked on-site at the historic Rock Island Depot in downtown Atlantic. Events begin with a breakfast buffet for all cooks at seven A.M. Saturday. The order to “light the stoves” will be given at 10:30 A.M. The public is invited to taste the chili after 11:30 A.M. For more information, call Johnson at (712) 243-2898, or e-mail [email protected].