LUDLOW, Vt. – Carlos Iglesias won the coveted People’s Choice First Place Award and $200 on Oct. 7 at the 27th Annual Ludlow Rotary Club Chili Cook-Off. Iglesias, of Stoughton, Mass., and a multiple past winner, garnered 93 votes out of more than 400 ballots for “Chili Con Carlos.” Iglesias has won 11 awards during the 19 years that he has participated in the cook-off.
Two fledgling Proctorsville restaurants earned the Number 2 and 3 slots. Second Place People’s Choice accolades and $100 went to Murdock’s, which opened on the Proctorsville Green last February, with 61 votes. Neal’s, which opened last month in the former Table 19 space on Route 103 by the railroad crossing, earned $50 and the Third Place People’s Choice plaque with 52 votes.
Neal’s also earned the Best-in-Show award from cook-off judging panelists Gordon Dritschilo of the Rutland Herald, celebrated local author and journalist Bruce Farr, and Ludlow Fire Dept. Chief Peter Kolenda. Judges awarded the Spiciest Chili plaque for “Chili Con Carlos” and Team Spirit award to The Downtown Grocery restaurant. An honorable mention award was presented to the Ludlow Health Center.
The annual Columbus Day weekend event was well-attended by the public, who paid $10 each to gorge on chili, bread, cider and vanilla ice cream. A crowd estimated in excess of 500 people sampled 19 different chili recipes served up by their creators, Ludlow Rotarians, Black River High School students and members of Green Mountain Union High School’s Interact club. Additional set-up and break-down assistance was provided by teens staying at the Mountainside House on Mill Street, operated by Windsor County Youth Services.
This year marked the fourth year of the club’s “green initiative” to reduce waste by serving chili in ceramic mugs. Intended as keepsakes, any mugs not taken home will be washed and recycled for next year’s event on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
Proceeds for this year’s cook-off will go into the club’s charitable fund, which awards scholarships to local high school students and supports preschool and elementary school reading programs, Rotary International’s effort to eradicate polio, and an orphanage in Uganda, among other non-profit services.
Sponsors included Black River Produce, Clark’s Quality Foods, Cota & Cota Fuel Co., Garvey and Garvey Inc., George B. Tucker, Inc., Good Commons, Inside Edge Rentals at Okemo, LaValley Building Supply, Ludlow Insurance Agency, Inc., Okemo Mountain Resort, The Castle Resort and Spa, Wilcox Ice Cream and Wright Construction Co.