The Arbor Restaurant at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville won first place in the food service category and the Belleville Firefighters Local 53 won the People’s Choice award for collecting the most $1 votes.
Strano & Associates Real Estate of Belleville took second place in the non-food service category and Beckett Kick Chili grabbed third place.
Wendy Pfeil, executive director of the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce estimated 60,000 people attended the 33rd annual Belleville Chili Cook-off hosted by the chamber on the Public Square on Friday and Saturday. Pfeil announced the award winners Saturday afternoon when crowds enjoyed sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s.
The cooks, we had five with a couple extra helpers, and our cumulative age is 427.
Jim Sogor, the head cook this year for the O’Fallon Sportsmen’s Club
In true Chili Cook-off tradition, members of the O’Fallon Sportsmen’s Club refused to reveal the recipe of their award-winning chili.
Jim Sogor, the head cook this year for the club, said the chili is the result of “an amalgamation of years of experience of cooking.”
“The cooks, we had five with a couple extra helpers, and our cumulative age is 427,” Sogor said. “So there’s a lot of experience.”
They made 240 gallons of chili for festival.
Butch Robb, one the cooks this year and the head cook last year for the sportsmen, said the recipe was developed through trial and error.
“We made test batches and served them at the meeting and came up with the recipe based on the club membership,” Robb said. “You get to hone in on this thing.”