On Saturday, September 25, contestants will be firing up their kettles and creating their best chili in hopes of taking home the top prize of $1,000 during the 14th Annual Simon Kenton Chili Cook off Festival. The festival committee enlists the aid of “foodies” to determine who takes home the prize monies.
The judges are Jamon Sellman, Mark Feinstein, Cortney Porter, Mark Runyan and Pam Bowshier.
Jamon was born in Ohio, spent three of his teen years in Chile experiencing some of the best South American and Mediterranean cuisine and local dishes available. He has traveled to 12 European countries, Central America and four South American countries sampling local cuisines and discovering new ways to enjoy food. “I LOVE good food, and I enjoy quality ingredients with unique twists” says Jamon.
Mark has been an avid “foodie” for decades. His love of cooking and all things culinary led him to open two restaurants, including the NottaDog Café on the Square in Urbana. The restaurant makes everything from scratch, using Mark’s recipes for it all – including the dogs themselves. He has traveled the country in search of culinary delights and is eager to try out the offerings of the contestants.
Corntey is a certified chef, graduating from Columbus State Community College Chef Apprenticeship Program in 2003. She served as special events director at CAPA in Columbus, planning twenty plus memorable galas which raised over $3.1 million for the performing arts in central Ohio. She was Executive Sous Chef at Shane’s Gourmet Catering for 12 years, cooking for events with as many as 1,000-plus guests. Currently she is the director of culinary development and events at The Woodruff Farm in Urbana. The farm has a market, event venue, and soon an onsite farm-to-fork restaurant, of which she will be the General Manager and menu consultant.
Mark returned to Urbana following graduation from OSU with a degree in agriculture. The family farm produced and sold purebred hogs internationally for over 40 years and his main focus has been pork quality – the taste, flavor and tenderness of the meat for the consumer. He opened the Oakview Farm Meat Shop and Oakview Promotional Trailer which sells frozen pork from the farm and beef and chicken produced by neighboring farms. He partnered with Pam Bowshier of Cosmic Charlie Breads to form Hippie and the Farmer Catering business and Champaign Locally Grown On-Line twelve month farmers market, both located at the Oakview Farms Meat Shop.
Pam Bowshier, moved to Urbana from Florida in 1999. She launched her bread baking business, Cosmic Charlie Baking and Bread following success at local farmers’ markets. She co-managed The Mechanicburg Farmers and Artisans Market and had a shop in downtown Springfield featuring her baked goods and vintage/mod clothing. Moving the shop to Urbana in 2015, she helped to bring the community commercial kitchen plan to fruition with the Local Foods Council, co-chaired the Art Affair, and served on the boards of the Monument Square District and the Local Foods Council of Champaign County. Hooking up with Mark Runyan of Oakview Farms at the local farm markets and creating great sandwiches with their products, led to the creation of Hippie and the Farmer Catering Business. They grow organic produce, offer upscale farm to table catering, host events, parties and private dinners and operate a full scale, fully licensed commercial kitchen at the Oakview Market. “Knowing where your food comes from, how it tastes, how inventive a dish is, and how it is grown has always been of most importance to me. I demand high quality, I provide high quality in my businesses and I acknowledge and applaud fellow foodies who feel the same. I am honored to be part of the judging team for this year’s Chili Cook-off, and will be looking for that one chili that offers a taste explosion to really impress me!” said Pam.
The audience can participate in judging their favorite chili by purchasing beads and dropping them in the container at the booth that created their favorite chili. The “Peoples Choice Chili” winner earns a trophy and “bragging rights”!
In addition to the contests, the festival includes a corn hole tournament, dunk tank, music, and lots of great food, ensuring a day of fun for the entire family!