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Chef Alicja, Little Flower Men's Emmaus take top honors at Chili Cook-Off

Festival sponsored by Knights of Columbus to benefit veterans draws over 1,000 visitors

Posing with their second place Judge's Choice award for their pot of chili are members of the Down Syndrome Association of Miami team.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO

Posing with their second place Judge's Choice award for their pot of chili are members of the Down Syndrome Association of Miami team.

Nelly Palancar and David Carvallo, who ran the winning booth for the Men's Emmaus group from Little Flower Parish in Coral Gables, pose with their People's Choice award. Carvallo did the cooking.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO

Nelly Palancar and David Carvallo, who ran the winning booth for the Men's Emmaus group from Little Flower Parish in Coral Gables, pose with their People's Choice award. Carvallo did the cooking.

CORAL GABLES | Competition was hot this past Sunday at the Knights of Columbus' annual Gables Chili Cook-Off and Music Street Festival on Catalonia Avenue. The event attracted more than 1,100 visitors and 11 organizations that vied to determine who makes the best chili in the community, while families enjoyed the music and activity.

Prizes were awarded in two categories: The People's Choice, based on ballots from the visitors who enjoyed samples from simmering chili pots at the various stands; and The Judge's Choice, based on a vote by a panel of prominent food judges.

The winners were: 

Judge's Choice:

  • First place: Chef Alicja
  • Second place: Down Syndrome Association of Miami
  • Third place: Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police.

People's Choice:

  • First place: Men's Emmaus Group from the Church of the Little Flower, Coral Gables
  • Second place: Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police
  • Third place: Coral Gables Firefighters

This increasingly popular festival is a charitable event to benefit local veterans. It is organized by the Coral Gables Knights of Columbus and sponsored by Bacardi, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables, Fetes & Events, RivMan Charities, Doctors Hospital, Miami-Dade Military Affairs Board, Ball & Chain, IntercreditBank, and Gables Cigars. 

“The uniqueness of our event was that we had the combined participation of civic, business, religious and charity organizations coming together under one umbrella in support of our local veterans," said Manny Gonzalez, Grand Knight. "We are planning an even bigger event for the third annual Chili Cook-Off and Music Festival."  

Entertainers performing at the festival this year included: The Miami Heat Dancers, PALO Band (Grammy Nominee & Latin Grammy Nominee for "PALO! Live"), Ball and Chain, Seaspice Live, Jay Valor Band, Tyme Machine, 540's, Floyd the Rock Artist, and Paula Arenas.

Other competitors in the Chili Cook-Off contest were the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables Hotel, Fetes and Events, Knights Ladies, Society of American Military Engineers, Doctors Hospital (Baptist Health System South Florida), and Boy Scouts of America Troop 16.

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