Apolito said the top five chilis were separated by less than two points.
Some of my favorite chilis in the competition were not your typical tomato-based chilis.
Gilbert, a Dayton firefighter who has been with the department for 12 years, brought a white chicken chili to the competition. He told Dayton.com he entered last year and came really close to winning, but his chili was too spicy. This year, he toned down the heat level and smoked much of the ingredients including the chicken and peppers.
“It is a little bit hot, but it has enough creaminess involved in it that it delivers a real savory taste,” Gilbert said. “There’s a lot of love made in this recipe.”
Gilbert’s chili was served with cornbread, which he described as a well-known Dayton firefighter recipe.
Another favorite of mine was made by Leah Napier and Ameile Kava, seniors in Centerville High School’s Culinary Program.
They told Dayton.com they have worked together in class and won a previous chili competition. Their chili was broth-based and garnished with cheese, sour cream, cilantro and a slice of lime. The presentation was perfection.
The winning chili recipe featured diced tomatoes, green chilis, ground beef, chili beans, habanero pepper, bacon grease, sugar and several other ingredients.
“I’ve been making chili every week for months to refine and perfect our family’s recipe,” Tyler said. “For the judges and folks at the cookoff to love it, and to have it on the menu at Archer’s, is so rewarding!”
I personally felt it was a really solid chili I could see myself serving to my family on a cold winter day.
Apolito said Archer’s Tavern started hosting a chili cookoff in 2010 when the restaurant first opened.
“I love hearing the stories the contestants tell,” Apolito said. “Many are recipes that have been passed down for generations.”
He added some recipes have been inspired by traveling or even an experiment that surprisingly turned out well.
“The one common denominator in every story is the ‘chef’ loves preparing and sharing their chili with friends and family,” Apolito said. “Chili is one of those unique dishes that is always shared when people come together.”
The chili cookoff was also a fundraiser for Centerville High School’s Culinary Program. Guests were able to buy samples of the chilis for $2 each. Proceeds are helping students fund an educational trip to Orlando, Florida.
Archer’s Tavern has two locations: 9496 Dayton Lebanon Pike in Centerville and 2030 E. Dorothy Lane in Kettering. For more information about the restaurant, visit www.archerstavern.com.