Bluff, UT. When it comes to chili, these women knew
what to do as they put their personal recipes to the ultimate test
during the Utah Navajo Fair Chili Cook-off on Sept. 13.
Teresa Yazzie, Shirlee Bedonie, Annie Oldman and Ophelia Holiday
brought their cooking skills and ingredients to prove to the judges
they have the best chili recipes around.
First place went to Yazzie from White Cone, Ariz., a four-time
competitor who finally took home the top prize by wowing the judge's
tastes buds with her tropical salsa.
"I wanted to make something different," Yazzie said. She entered
two recipes and both were salsas, eggplant and tropical.
Her tropical salsa was a mixture of cilantro, tomatoes, mangos,
onions, avocados, and cherry peppers. Her eggplant had jalapeo
peppers and yellow peppers with cherry tomatoes.
Yazzie brought in a total of 423 points that earned her a cash
prize of $500.
"It felt really good because I've always been in second place,"
Yazzie said. "I enjoy what I do."
"I like to challenge myself," Yazzie added.
Lena Guerito, chili cook-off coordinator, said the chili cook-off
is showing off the contestant's culinary skills, promoting healthy
cooking, practicing sanitation and providing a variety of new healthy
recipes to the public.
"There are just so many things you can do with chili. We're
trying to inspire using more veggies in the recipe," Guerito added.
"They're very creative in their various ways of making chili,"
Guerito said of the contestants, and that's what makes the cook-off
so good because you get to taste their recipes. "I always look for
the more creative and traditional foods."
Creative indeed because some of the contestants added ingredients
one wouldn't normally find in chili, like peaches, watermelon and
Each of the contestants was scored on a five-point system in
three different categories that featured several subcategories.
Judge Kimbro Talk said what he enjoyed most about this competition
was when the contestants took the time to explain what they were
making and the steps need to create their dishes.
All the contestants were judged on personal hygiene, chili and
Within the chili categories the judges were looking at the appearance,
aroma, taste, originality, what they used to cook the chili and
the recipes provided.