Weather relents as former chili champ reclaims cook-off crown

  From left, Pamela Boone, Chris Cope, Angelique Cope 
  and Homewood's 2019 Top Chef, Terrance Boone. Boone 
  won the contest several years ago and came back to 
  reclaim the crown on Saturday.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

A former chili champ reclaimed his title as Homewood's Top Chef and a family won second place in honor of a late competitor.

Judges at the annual Fall Fest Chili Cook-off awarded the top prize to Terrence Boone, a Metra police captain who also won the event several years ago. Two years ago, he served as a judge, and last year, he was unable to attend.

Boone said his "Law Dawg Chili" starts with a turkey base. The most important ingredient is chopped banana peppers, but he also adds enough pinneaple to provide a moderating effect.
 

  Cathy and Emma Hughest 
  took second place in the 
  Fall Fest Chili Cook-off using
  the recipe of the late Jim Hughes, 
  who competed for years.
(Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

"It's balance of spicy and sweet," he said. "Two of the judges came over they said, "It got me, it bit me, then it let go.' They enjoyed that."

He credited his sister, Angelique Cope, for urging him to start competing with his chili about seven years ago. Chris Cope and Boone's wife, Pamela, were also part of his Chicago Bears-themed team.

The mother-daughter team of Cathy and Emma Hughes were in the contest to honor the memory of long-time competitor Jim Hughes, who died in June. Emma's brother, Jay, wasn't able to attend but also helped prepare his father's recipe for the event.

"It was definitely a family affair," Cathy said. "We're missing our guy today."

Emma said her father began competing in the annual cook-off in 2005. He claimed ribbons several times for his white chili, featuring chicken, turkey and pork.

Willie Askew of Chicago took third place in the cook-off. It was his first time competing in a chili contest, he said. 
 

  Willie Askew of Chicago serves
  a bowl of his chili, which took 
  third place in the cook-off. 

  (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

One difference in the contest this year was the elimination of professional and amateur categories. As it happened, only amateur chefs turned out, but there were more of them than in recent years, with 16 entries.

Another change was an award for best booth decor. That honor went to Pete Kerkhoven's Uncle Pete's Spooktacular Ghoulcious Chili display.

"Voodoo Chili" by Dan Taylor of Homewood won the People's Choice award. Taylor was named the Top Chef in 2018.

Fall Fest added a pumpkin-carving contest this year, replacing the scarecrow contest, which had a five-year run at the festival.

Kate Purvis's Frankenstein's monster pumpkin took first place. Tashawna Bennet's scary faced pumpkin was awarded second place, and Noah Colon's rendition of Pennywise the Clown took third place.

Judging was done by members of the Homewood Community Relations Committee.

The festival was generally unaffected by weather, except for occasional wind gusts. The cool, overcast day contrasted with a night of intense thunderstorms Friday and a forecast that called for more storms during the morning and early afternoon Saturday.

The Homewood Farmers Market was canceled in the interest of safety, and village officials talked about whether to hold Fall Fest. 

Allisa Opyd, village events manager, said officials decided to forge ahead with only a few adjustments in the plan.
 

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