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ms Columbus Chili Cook-Off

ms Columbus Chili Cook-Off

ms Columbus Chili Cook-Off

2022 Winners

2022 ms Columbus Chili Cook-Off

Krystal Paisley

December 7, 2022

The ms Columbus Annual Chili Cook-Off was back this year, and boy, what a turn out! Several homemade chilis, side dishes, and desserts were enjoyed. Along with meeting some new coworkers and catching up with old ones.


After several years of foregoing the annual ms Columbus Chili Cook-off due to the COVID pandemic, the ms chefs were ready to put their cooking skills to the test.

Check out this year’s chili entries:


  • White Chicken Chili
  • Reaper Chili
  • Turkey Chili
  • Beef Chorizo Chili
  • Crockpot of Meat Chili
  • Pork & Pumpkin Chili
  • Campfire Chili
  • Sweet Heat Chili
  • Mom’s Best Chili
  • Vegetarian Chili
  • Just Chili


Beyond just the chili entries, more than 50 employees brought in something to contribute to the party. Everything from chips to cookies to cornbread…and even peanut butter! Many of us learned that people enjoy peanut butter sandwiches with their chili. Or even peanut butter in their chili.


Don’t believe us? Check out Apparently, Peanut Butter Is Some Southerners’ Secret Ingredient When Making Chili, or Hear me out: Dip peanut butter sandwiches in chili, if you’re curious.


No chili cook-off is complete without some winners. After the votes were tallied, we crowned three 2022 Chili Champs! Let’s hear from the three winners who really brought the heat.


CARA FULLEN: First Place for White Chicken Chili


  • What made your chili stand out? I guess I’ll state the obvious here…mine was the only white chili this year, so I suppose that’s what made it stand out. No secret ingredients, except maybe that it didn’t have tomatoes…
  • How was the competition this year? I thought it was a really tough competition. I tried all the chilis and really enjoyed each of them! Then I was uncomfortably full the rest of the day… Kudos to everyone who participated!
  • What was your favorite part of this year’s cook-off? Winning! LOL. I’ve come so close several times. In my first year, I only missed it by one vote! I was relieved when Jim Bednar retired, and I could finally claim the chili crown! Seriously though, for me, the best part was just getting to do the cook-off again after not having it for a few years, thanks to COVID.
  • Any words of advice? In a world of tomato bases…be a roux!  
  • Final thoughts? Keep calm and eat chili?


STEVE NOCERA: Second Place for Reaper Chili

  • What made your chili stand out? Some secrets, I used a lot of homegrown ingredients, such as the peppers and tomatoes, which add a lot of flavor. I also added some brown sugar to help smooth over the Reaper Pepper, which is the hottest pepper in the world.
  • How was the competition? It was great fun! I was a bit worried going in, as everyone I talked to about it cautioned me on making a spicy chili, but some like it hot, apparently. Some good chilis this year!
  • Any words of advice? Don’t be afraid to make it the way you like it.
  • Final thoughts? A few pieces of feedback from my chili:
    • “I think you cheated because after people had yours, they couldn’t taste anything else.”
    • “You weren’t afraid to make a spicy chili; thank you for that!”
    • “I didn’t sweat when I ate yours” (Psst…Don’t worry, you will next year! My goal was to make a hotter chili…if you aren’t sweating, then I need to up my game!)


KIM THOMAS: Third Place for Turkey Chili

  • What made your chili stand out? Adding rice as the base, then topped with chili and additional toppings, made my chili stand out.
  • How was the competition this year? I think competition is always tough when you don’t know what to expect! This was my first time participating.
  • What was your favorite part of this year’s cook-off? I was a “newbie” to the competition. I enjoyed every minute of it and loved seeing everyone!
  • Any words of advice? Be different; you never know what people are into!



A huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s ms Columbus Chili Cook-Off. And a big (chef’s) hats off to the big winners.


It was great to reunite, celebrate the holiday season, and enjoy some great food.