Chili judges diverse in taste criteria

Look out chili chefs–the taste testers are out to choose the best chili and they have some flavour standards.
“Some like it hot, some do not” pretty much sums up the panel of judges set to give their taste buds the challenge at the “Great Chili Cookoff” slated Friday in the Times parking lot.
The official chili tasters include Betty Ann Czarnecki, John McTaggart, Mike Behan, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, and Jennifer Avis, who said she will be a “heat seeker” in the bunch.
“I like spicy, I like hot,” stressed Avis, the news director at CFOB here. “I like a lot of meat and I do like kidney beans but not too many tomatoes–that detracts.
“And no mushrooms!”
But Avis also is looking for a chili which comes close to what her mom makes–and that’s some big shoes to fill.
“My mom is a mean chili maker,” she chuckled. “They’ve got a lot to live up to.”
At the opposite end of the heat scale–but still in search of a quality batch of chili–is Times editor Mike Behan.
“I know what good chili tastes like,” he smiled. “Not overly spicy. You know, hot isn’t necessarily better, at least when it comes to chili.”
“I’m looking for something that I’d like a whole bowl of. Something that comes close to my wife’s excellent chili,” he brown-nosed.
Meanwhile, at least one judge will be on the lookout for a healthy dose of chili ingredients.
Betty Ann Czarnecki, a dietitian at Riverside’s Valley Diabetes Education Centre, said a low-fat recipe with lots of fibre would be tops in her books.
“I am partial towards spicy and I prefer beans in it,” she noted. “And as a dietitian, I like lean ground beef or moose meat [but] the taste has to be a good blend of spices.”
Czarnecki, who entered her “Skinny Chili” in last year’s cookoff, also said she will be looking for that creative edge–and wants to be able to identify what she’s eating.
“I like to see my vegetables in chili. That adds colour,” she remarked.