Winning chili named at Eastlake Zoo’s 32nd Cookoff

UPDATE: This post has been changed since originally published. Jeff Ma is the winner, Will Lemke was one of the third place contestants, and I had the wrong name for the spice in Jeff’s chili.

A hungry and enthusiastic crowd of chili lovers descended on the Eastlake Zoo Saturday afternoon for the tavern’s 32nd Annual Chili Cookoff. 

Proceeds from the cookoff benefit Northwest Harvest. The Zoo’s Howard Brown says they raised $535 for the food bank.


Howard didn’t have names at hand for the winners but he did have the winning entrant numbers. If you were a winner, let me know and I’ll update the post with your name:

  1. First place ($100 and a trophy) went to entrant #7, Jeff Ma, the chili with the Asian influence.
  2. Second place was #21 (ribbon and 12 free games at the Zoo).
  3. Third place (three hours of shuffleboard and three hours of snooker) was a tie between #4, #8 and #17 (Will Lemke was one of the third-place winners).

A long and tasty line of chili was waiting at the back of the Zoo. Some of the entrants had been competing for years but others, like Patty Loving, were entering for the first time. Her chili recipe? Elk sausage, red wine and bison.

Lots of people were talking about Jeff Ma’s chili (I think he was entrant #7) for its Asian-influenced taste. Ma said his secret ingredients included chili paste, soy sauce and Five Spice Powder. And, he made his own flatbread to go with the chili.

Betsy Costello, who entered the “Phactoria Phloozie Chili,” said that presentation was important. She had decorated her entry pot with sparkly garland and a sign. And, yes, she comes all the way from Factoria for the event.

Eastlake resident and businessperson Will Lemke (Propadata Films) was on the phone trying to find a crockpot to keep his chili warm. His secret: chorizo, bacon and beef. He’d been cooking for a day.

The competition was fun, spirited and friendly. As Besty Costello said, “It’s all for a good cause!”

3 thoughts on “Winning chili named at Eastlake Zoo’s 32nd Cookoff

  1. Jeff Ma

    Hey cdmilton, thanks for posting this! It was 5 Spice Powder (it was pretty loud in there so the mistake was understandable). I was talking to one of the organizers and they were thinking of doing another Mac & Cheese contest some time later in the year. I had a lot of fun doing this so definitely count me in for the next cook off!

  2. Walt Lane

    Just wanted to thank you, Curt, for covering our Chili Cook-off and keeping us all informed of the Eastlake Neighborhood happenings! And wanted to thank all of those who participated and attended to make our the cook-off a great time and successful event. We are indeed planning on having the 1st Annual Mac N’ Cheese cook off in the next couple of months. The idea has been presented to the Eastlake Zoo Tavern Culinary Cook-Off Rules Committee and we will have news forthcoming. Those interested in keeping up on the Zoo news can email eastlakezootavern@comcast.net with “subscribe” in the subject line to get on our list. Again thanks to all!

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