Cheesecake, ribs among top dishes at 2024 Chilton County Peach Cook-off

Published 12:40 pm Monday, June 24, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County residents brought their best sweet and savory dishes to Clanton for the 2024 Chilton County Peach Cook-off to crown the best in the county. Adult and youth division winners in both sweet and savory categories were named, and a wide variety of peach inspired dishes were available to sample for those in attendance.

Held at Senior Connection in Clanton, the judges took their time and sampled each dish thoroughly and ranked them on how they matched up against one another. While the judges deliberated, Carrie Easterling from Wild Moon Boba & Bowls did a food demonstration on Boba with samples for the crowd. Then, it was time for the winners to be announced.

In the youth divisions, two first-time winners were crowned in each category. Anna Bell Bentley’s peach cheesecake wowed the judges and earned her the top spot in the youth sweet division. Bentley’s cheesecake was a flavorful cheesecake with a peach mixture, and it was served with a topping of freshly cut peaches. Bentley competed in the Peach Cook-off the last two years, but won her first top spot this year.

“I really, really love everything about cheesecake, and I thought ‘Why don’t I just mix peaches in with cheesecake,’ and I figured it out,” Bentley said. “I have always baked my own birthday cake for all of my birthdays and I have never not done it. My grandmother introduced me to baking when I was four or five, and I have never been able to be stopped since.”

In the youth savory division, Trey Calfee’s peach glazed ribs took first place as he married the smoky flavors of BBQ with the sweetness of peaches. Calfee prepared the ribs with a peach dry rub seasoning, infused them with peach nectar and finished off with a homemade peach glaze on top. A veteran in the competition like Bentley, Calfee also won his first top spot in this year’s cook-off.

“We decided we were going to do the ribs because we do a lot of smoking and grilled in our house,” Calfee said. “We love smoking meats, and we were going to do something else, but landed on doing the ribs. We did a lot of variations of it and tested them out.”

In the adult divisions, one winner took her second consecutive top spot while the other won in her first cooking competition she has ever entered. Jaclyn Mims won her second consecutive top spot in the adult savory division with a peach bruschetta. Having a cinnamon allergy, Mims is unable to eat or make a lot of sweet peach dishes. She counters this by making exceptional peach savory dishes that have won her the division at the cook-off in back to back years.

“When I think about peaches, I always think about a ripe, fresh summer flavor, so I just wanted something that was easy, quick and just said ‘Chilton County peaches,’” Mims said. “When thinking about the flavor profile, I thought about honey and chili powder to transform it into something savory, but that was still light and summery (too).”

Beverly Williamson won the adult savory division crown with a peach and fig crisp on her birthday, and also in her first ever cooking competition. Williamson considers herself a cook, but not a dessert cook. She got the idea for the crisp by attending a healthy cooking class held at Jefferson State Community College last year, and she put her own spin on the recipe.

“I was not crazy about the topping because they used a syrup and it was gluten free, but I wanted people to be able to have the ingredients (available) in their kitchen,” Williamson said. “I used regular all-purpose flour and honey, and I changed the topping completely. I made it four or five times before I got it just right.”

All of the recipes for the dishes at the 2024 Chilton County Peach Cook-off were printed inside the event’s pamphlet handed out to attendees. Sponsors for the event included the Chilton County Extension Office, Chilton County Farm-City Program, Clanton Lions Club, Senior Connection and Wild Moon Boba & Bowls.


2024 Chilton County Peach Cook-off Results

Adult Sweet

  1. Beverly Williamson, “Honey I’ll Have Some More” Peach/Fig Crisp with Pecan Topping
  2. Crissi Hand, Sissy’s Sassy Peach Rolls
  3. Amy Baker, Minty Million Dollar Pie

Adult Savory

  1. Jaclyn Mims, Peach Bruschetta
  2. Shelia Knight, Chilton County Peach Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins with Peach Sauce

Youth Sweet

  1. Anna Bell Bentley, Peach Cheesecake
  2. Kinzley Baker, Peach Paparazzi
  3. Abby Ross Bentley, Peach Pecan Caramel Pie

Youth Savory

  1. Trey Calfee, Peach Glazed Ribs
  2. Kinzley Baker, Peach Orchard Chicken Salad