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Relay for Life Chili Cookoff today was a tasty way to help fight cancer

Descot's 10 Bean Militia Chili was a tasty entry in the Mission Viejo Relay for Life Chili Cookoff
Descot's 10 Bean Militia Chili was a tasty entry in the Mission Viejo Relay for Life Chili Cookoff
Edward Simon

Today, fierce competition gave way to shouts of joy as the American Cancer Society’s 20th Relay for Life of Mission Viejo held their chili cookoff to benefit the race's charitable endeavors. The cookoff, held at Mission Viejo's Norman P. Murray Community Center, attracted a nice crowd of people waiting to sample some of Mission Viejo's best chili. Margot Ferron, current Publicity Chair and 2013 Event Chair for Relay for Life Mission Viejo, told the Examiner, “I'm really glad to see all these people helping with the fight against cancer. Some people participate in small ways that really mean a lot and some of us go crazy”. Margot continued, “ The chili cookoff is one of my favorite fundraisers for the Relay. It is put on by the Community of Character that is such an outstanding youth group in Mission Viejo. We have so much fun and the chili is yummy,”

Kyle Brandt shows off his daughter along with the apron proclaiming his win of the Mission Viejo Relay for Life's 2014 Chili Cookoff
Edward Simon

The judges for today's event were a surprise, their names carefully withheld until the event so there could be no slipping them early tastes of chili. Lisa Inlow, a local college professor and Brad Newmeyer, Mission Viejo's new Chief of Police were joined by 2013 Relay for Life Chili Champion Trent Wolfert, who brought his winning chili expertise to the judge's table. They got their samples of each of the competitor's chili, judging each on categories such as taste, appearance, aroma and color. Trent told the Examiner, “I'm really happy to be here judging this year, it should be a lot of fun. It's a lot different than being an entrant and cooking all that chili”.

While a band played classic rock outside, the crowd made their rounds, donating money for each taste of the chili. Each taste was a donation to the Relay for Life Mission Viejo, which will be held June 7, 2014. Relay brings communities throughout the country together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember their loved ones lost and provide us with an opportunity to make a difference. The American Cancer Society's local group is part of a worldwide group that sponsors events to help those with cancer and with keeping alive those who have succumbed to the disease. In addition, Relay provides a way for those who have beaten cancer to show everyone that many can survive.

A wide variety of chili could be sampled, including Wendy's White Lightning Chili, a chile verde based green chicken chili, as well as Descot's 10 Bean Militia Chili, which held to it's promise of including 10 separate kinds of beans as well as Italian sausage for some of the chili ingredients. Representing Descot's 10 Bean Militia Chili, David Descotteaux dished his chili out, saying “It's my family chili. I put lots of different things in the chili to satisfy everyone. Plus, I like to put Italian sausage in because not only does it add a lot of flavor, but the meat doesn't fall apart during the long cooking”. Birthright Chili from Erik York had the look of a true competitive chili, it's deep dark red hue showcasing the look chili competitors strive for. With the sampling going full tilt, the competitors each wound up with empty pots, a testament to the quality of their entries.

Finally, the judges finished their delicious work and got ready to announce to the crowd the winners. In 3rd place, Wendy Bucknum's chili, Wendy's White Lightning Chili, took the honors. Coming in at 2nd place was Erik York's Birthright Chili. Erik proved that great chiliheads think alike, putting in pitted prunes in his chili. He was pleased to hear that a similar addition of prunes to chili has netted Bob Plager the International Chili Society's World Championship in both 2012 and 2013. After having tasted both Erik's and Bob's pots of chili, it is safe to say that Erik has a great future in chili cookoffs. His next step, which he has begun already, is to mix his own chili powder, even down to grinding the dried chili peppers himself.

As the crowd waited with bated breath, the announcement of the 2014 Relay for Life Chili Cookoff Champion was made. Kyle Brandt was the winner, with his Brandt Family Cowboy Chili. As he walked up to receive his prizes, the 2014 Chili Champion apron and a $50.00 prize, he was all smiles. Kyle carried his Relay for Life “Director of Sales”, his young daughter, while his wife accompanied him to receive the award. He accepted his award, very pleased with how everyone enjoyed his chili. The real winners though were those who got to taste all the wonderful pots of chili.

On June 7, 2014, the American Cancer Society's 20th Annual Relay for Life will be held in Mission Viejo. Everyone is welcome to either participate in the relay or sponsor a participant. The two day event includes a Survivor's Lap as well as a Luminaria Memorial. Runners, walkers and rollers are urged to participate in the event. The teams participating in the actual relay are encouraged to have private and business sponsorships for their team, with proceeds going toward the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life goal: Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. To register for the Relay or volunteer with any of their fundraisers, please go to, or twitter @mv_RelayForLife.

Relay for Life Mission Viejo

Saddleback College

June 7, 2014

9:00 am, with events all through the next 24 hours

Event website

American Cancer Society Mission Viejo

Ph: 949/567-0625

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