Housner wins 2018 chili cook-off

Debbie Housner of Clanton beat out 10 competitors and won the 2018 Chili Cook-off hosted by Senior Connection.

Housner’s chili earned the top prize by the judges and was also popular among those who attended the event, as there was none left to take home.

“It’s a nice basic chili,” Housner said. “The secret ingredient is love.”

It was the first time that Housner entered her chili recipe in any kind of contest, and she had no expectations heading in.

The chili is a staple dish that Housner has been bringing to family outings for the past 20 years.

“Everybody just loves it, so I figured why not [enter the cook-off],” Housner said.

Debbie Housner’s chili won first place in the 2018 chili cook-off hosted by Senior Connection in Clanton. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Not only does the chili taste good, but it also makes a lot and is perfect for feeding a crowd of people.

“It’s always better the next day,” Housner said.

For a unique twist, Housner offered each person who sampled the chili a Hershey kiss.

“I was the official kissing booth [of the chili cook-off],” Housner said.

The event is a major fundraiser for Senior Connection, and a large crowd was on hand to taste some chili and show their support.

According to Molly Smelley, Senior Connection treasurer, the event nearly doubled the money raised from a year ago.

Roughly $800 was collected from people who purchased tickets at the door.

Housner received $100 for first place and a trophy, which she will keep in her home or kitchen for the next year.

Seventeen vendors took part in the health fair that coincided with the chili cook-off.