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Young professionals chili cook-off spices up the competition for a good cause

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Justin Turner, from left, Emily Durham and Doug Sewell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Justin Turner, from left, Emily Durham and Doug Sewell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Eleanor Mode, left, and Coralin Mode at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Eleanor Mode, left, and Coralin Mode at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Travis Hill, from left, Leanne Hicks, Scott Elliott, Lauren Land and Brian Swanson at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Travis Hill, from left, Leanne Hicks, Scott Elliott, Lauren Land and Brian Swanson at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Erica Thomas, from left, Chris St. Laurent and AnneMarie Hovasse at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Erica Thomas, from left, Chris St. Laurent and AnneMarie Hovasse at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Travis Bourland, from left, Max Monzon, Michael Kruger, Ryan Mendez and Joel Gittemeier at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Travis Bourland, from left, Max Monzon, Michael Kruger, Ryan Mendez and Joel Gittemeier at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Tim Neuhaus, from left, Bruce Wallace, Brad Dinerstein and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Tim Neuhaus, from left, Bruce Wallace, Brad Dinerstein and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Blair Burke, from left, Caroline Conway and Allison McConnell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Blair Burke, from left, Caroline Conway and Allison McConnell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Regina Lewis, left, and Julie Longoria Chen at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Regina Lewis, left, and Julie Longoria Chen at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
David Schwarz, from left, Kevin Amend, Blake Willeford and  David Cortez at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
David Schwarz, from left, Kevin Amend, Blake Willeford and David Cortez at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
David Wood, left, and Ben Brown at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
David Wood, left, and Ben Brown at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Coralin Mode, from left, Ally Hatz and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Coralin Mode, from left, Ally Hatz and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off. Photo courtesy of © Meredith Flaherty Photography
Justin Turner, from left, Emily Durham and Doug Sewell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Eleanor Mode, left, and Coralin Mode at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Travis Hill, from left, Leanne Hicks, Scott Elliott, Lauren Land and Brian Swanson at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Erica Thomas, from left, Chris St. Laurent and AnneMarie Hovasse at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Travis Bourland, from left, Max Monzon, Michael Kruger, Ryan Mendez and Joel Gittemeier at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Tim Neuhaus, from left, Bruce Wallace, Brad Dinerstein and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Blair Burke, from left, Caroline Conway and Allison McConnell at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Regina Lewis, left, and Julie Longoria Chen at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
David Schwarz, from left, Kevin Amend, Blake Willeford and  David Cortez at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
David Wood, left, and Ben Brown at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014
Coralin Mode, from left, Ally Hatz and Jaclyn Martin at the Casa de Esperanzas Young Professional Chili Cook-off February 2014

A dash of this and handful of that, plus secret ingredients — it was all part of the scene as chili chefs donned their aprons and knocked back the brewskies at the Casa de Esperanza Young Professionals fourth annual Chili Cook-off.

Aromas of simmering red stuff wafted over the crowd of 500 that gathered on Cottonwood's open patios for the popular event, chaired by Brad Dinerstein, Jaclyn Martin, Tim Neuhaus and Bruce Wallace. Aiding in the fundraising effort that brought in $65,000 were raffle chairs Meredith Flaherty, Ally Hatz and Carolin Mode.

We would bet there was plenty of Alka-Seltzer at the ready for the judges — David Cordúa, Mike Cortez, Ricardo Molina, Greg Morago and Kevin Strickland — who tasted entries from the 35 teams. 

And the winning team was Smiles Gone Wild, comprised of Julie Longoria Chen and Stephen Chen, Dell Cherry, Kelly Harold, Regina Lewis and Erica Maldonado.

Among those grooving to the sounds of The Mavens, picking up those raffle tickets and lining up to graze around Bernie's Burger Bus were chili cook-off committee members Sarah Brejot, Nick Adair, Ali and Pearson Montgomery, Brittany Bloom, Caroline and Will Brown and Philip Morgan. 

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