Auditor Mike Kovack's 26th annual Great Medina County Chili Cook Off, fondly know as the Grand Daddy of them all, was held February 6, at the Medina Eagles, 696 Lafayette Road. The much anticipated, longest running event of its kind showcased 10 cooks vying for the honor of making the country's best chili.
The recognition was important, but the purpose of the cook off involved so much more to the community. Each cook represented a local charity and hoped to win the top prize of $1,000 for that group. The runner-up would be awarded a $500 donation to be given to its charity, and all the other cooks would have a $250 donation made to their charities.
The defending champion from last year's event, Brunswick City Councilman Brian Ousley, was again representing the Brunswick Summer Celebration. He competed against: Carol Brenstuhl/Feeding Medina County; Colleen Rice/Leadership Medina County; Brian Feron and Tom Hilberg/The Medina County Historical Society; Kimberlee Bublik/Super Heroes to Kids in Ohio; David Arbogast/Project:LEARN; Stever Wright/Relay for Life of Medina County; Rose Boyd, Dawn and Alysia Rogers/Medina UCC Food Pantry; Matt Meuer and Matt Canter/The Society (formerly SHC); and Sarah Yacko/Medina County Children's Center.
The large crowd of supporters seriously sampled the various specialties, trying to decide which ones would get their votes. Some were spicy, some bold-flavored, and some appealed more to those who like their chili a little sweeter, but all were very tasty. All the beef for the Leadership Medina County's chili was generously donated by Buckin' Ohio.
Guests enjoyed a buffet of delicious homemade desserts, and had the opportunity to bid on several inviting silent auction items.
When the final count was in, Auditor Michael Kovack announced this year's winners. First place went to Brian Feron and Tom Hilberg, who were cooking for the Medina County Historical Society. The second place winner was Brian Ousley, who cooked for the Brunswick Summer Celebration, and the third place winners were Matt Canter and Matt Meuer, cooking for The Society (formerly called The Society for Handicapped Citizens). However, all the charities received a donation.
Since the inception of this event more than $20,000 has been donated to charitable causes in the county.