Barry James brought a chili championship title to Brookdale. Barry, the executive director at Brookdale Greenwood in South Carolina, used a chili recipe that he’s spent years working on to wow the judges at the Ninth-Annual Lakelands Home Builders Association Chili Cook-Off. He beat 20 competitors, including professional chefs and returning champs.
“The recipe is one that I’ve worked on over time,” Barry said. “I never written it down. I just go off of taste, adding a little bit of this and that until it’s just the way I like it. The cumin, smoked paprika and onions are the key ingredients.”
The biggest challenge with entering his chili into competition was the large volume he needed to make. While he can make a gallon at home, he needed to use Brookdale Greenwood’s kitchen to produce the nine gallons needed to enter the cook-off. Barry said he spent nearly eight hours working on the chili.
“That’s the most chili I have ever cooked,” Barry said. “I’ve never done a chili cook-off before. I do BBQ competitions, but never chili.”
Barry said he didn’t expect to win, and only entered the competition as a way to market Brookdale and meet more people in the Greenwood area. Barry won the judges’ choice, while a veteran of the chili cook-off claimed the people’s choice category. He took home a wrestling-style, chili championship belt and a plaque.
“Our residents keep asking if they can try the chili,” Barry said. “I’m going to make it for them soon, but I may cut back on the peppers and spices. It’s pretty hot.”
Brookdale’s vice president of dining services, Marjan Kodric said Barry’s recipe will be shared with Brookdale communities across the country. Barry’s local win is Brookdale’s national gain.
“Brookdale’s passion for great food runs throughout our communities,” Marjan said. “We’re proud to share Barry’s recipe with other Brookdale communities. It’s an example of how our associates create and innovate at every level.”