Crystal River Outfitter Recreational District’s inaugural appearance at the 2020 Glen Lake Winterfest Chili Cook-Off proved to be rewarding. Linette Rouzer, General Manager, created the blue ribbon recipe and was excited to support the Glen Lake Chamber of Commerce’s annual event along with the Wiesen’s and rest of the staff. “We were eager to participate this year!”, exclaimed Rouzer. ” It’s a great opportunity to promote our year round stores, Coastal and M22 Glen Arbor – and support the Chamber and Glen Lake Schools.”
Proceeds from the Chili Cook-Off benefit the Glen Lake Scholarship Fund awarding selected seniors from Glen Lake Community Schools who are accepted into an accredited vocational or academic program. The cold wintery weather didn’t keep the crowds away – the event reportedly raised $12,000 this year. “It took some careful planning to figure out how to keep the chili hot”, Rouzer continued. “The wind was definitely a factor and the snow…well, it just made it fun!”
So back to that recipe.
Rouzer modified a Buffalo Chicken Chili recipe adding some ingredients to give it her own special twist. “I made a couple of test batches to taste test at home and work”, she stated. “The feedback was great. I was excited to enter it and have others taste it and vote.” The secret recipe (and, yes, she insists its staying secret) was a sure fire win!
A total of 23 entrants shared their version of chili – including traditional red chili, smoked chicken chili, and beer brat chili. Garnishments are fun and include cornbread, tortilla chips and even a dark chocolate Hershey kiss. The District’s chili topped with crumbled blue cheese and a stick of celery was a fan favorite! One chili voter visiting from E. Lansing shared, “Their chili is creamy and bold. It’s very flavorful with the perfect amount of spice and heat. It’s so unique from the others, I voted for it.”
When asked about next year’s chili cook-off plans? “We’re going to enjoy the bragging rights and our commemorative plaque for a bit … while we begin planning next year’s encore recipe”, smiles Rouzer.
Wiesen’s share in the excitement saying, “This is an award to be celebrated. Our team worked hard to include us in a great community event. It’s fun to see them get excited and enjoy it!”