It's one of the hottest young professional events of the season, as evidenced last week by the turnout of 500 chili enthusiasts for Casa de Esperanza Young Professional's Annual Chili Cook-off.
Cottonwood was crawling with party people who chose chili over the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo barbecue cook-off taking place at the same time. The sixth annual afternoon bash filled the air with the seductive aromas of the various chili interpretations and filled the tummies of the judges, who selected the "Beverly Hillchillies" for top honors.
Reaching for the Rolaids after sampling the lot of the entries were judges Mike Cortez, Cathy Hernandez, Shanna Jones, Felice Sloan, Kevin Strickland and CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler.
Cook-off chairs Jordan and Duncan Balcom and Katie and Mitchell Currie congratulated the winning team members — Bruce Kish, Andrew Ashcroft, Mark Hurley, Minette Corpuz, and Ryan Murphy.
The peppers were hot and so were a number of the cute young things that provided eye candy for the outdoor fest. The partying crowd included past cook-off chairs Brad Dinerstein, Tim Neuhaus, Jaclyn Martin, and Bruce Wallace and host committee members including Sarah Brejot, Elizabeth Lawrie, Nicole Jawanmardi and Alex Miller, Kerry Lee, Lauren and Trent Sims, and David Zahn.