Complete Story


Where were you on National Chili Day?

Classic chili, chicken chili, steak chili, and more! No matter your chili preference, the variety of entries at the Chili Cook-Off meant there was something for everyone! The Sales & Marketing Council and Young Professionals Group held the competition, and over 15 members entered their recipes and was well attended with nearly 80 guests.

Custom Distributors hosted the event in their Worthington showroom, which proved to be the perfect location, displaying their vast array of kitchen appliances and products. They graciously provided cornbread, dessert, chili toppings and beverages.

“What a great turn out with so many types of chilis.” Said Lisa Tompkins with Carr Supply. “I enjoyed the different flavors and spice. The buffalo chicken with blue cheese was my favorite!” ( Shout out to Kate Allen with America's Floor Source for that entry!)

The entries were judged by Rob Sterneker with Thermador, Mark Mason with APCO Industries, and Ashley Casuccio with Custom Distributors. The winner received a 2020 BIA Chili Cook-Off Grand Champion cooking apron donated by Namaste Embroidery and bragging rights.

“2020 BIA Chili Cook-off was a tremendous success. Fifteen passionate cooks displayed a wide variety of cooking talents! Easily the hardest event I’ve had to judge,” Said Mason, “I loved the many different chili’s and exciting to be a part of another terrific BIA event.”

It was a tough call, but ultimately winners were named as follows:

Third place – Rob Abner with Pella Windows & Doors
Second Place – Tim Henson with America’s Floor Source
Grand Champion – David Wickline with Excel Companies 

What makes any old chili a top-three contender? Abner’s recipe is a family tradition that hasn’t been written down for some time, so it varies each time. Though you might be able to guess the ingredients in a traditional recipe, you may have never guessed his secret to kicking it up a notch. “One thing that makes it different is some of the juice from my wife’s pickled jalapeno peppers is added to give a sweet bite,” said Abner.

Chili without beans... is that at thing? Henson proved not only can you do it, you can place second for it. “My chili is special because I used three types of meats- Sweet Italian Sausage, Ground Chuck and Ribeye Steak,” explained Henson, “I don’t add any beans but do add Brown Sugar and Cinnamon. Green, Red and Yellow peppers and then Habanero and Chili Powder.”

Finally, our Chili Cook-Off Champion put some thought into the event and wanted to mix his regular recipe up with keeping some of the tried and true ingredients. “I decided to prepare a Chili that was different for the fine folks of the BIA, but still make use of my own Chili Spice Mix.” Said Wickline.

While he admits going with shrimp and sausage to create his Low Country Chili was a gamble, he’s glad he took it. “It appeared to be one of the favorites and I was surprised how well accepted the taste was!” said Wickline. Not only was it a favorite, but people were also literally scraping the bottom of the crockpot to get a taste.

When asked about his inspiration, Wickline explained “I have been perfecting my version of the
Roadhouse 66 Texas Red Spicy-Hot Chili Spice Mix and that my friends is what makes my Chili pop!”

His Low Country Shrimp & Sausage Chili Recipe is available upon request! And if you still can’t enough of that flavor, Wickline even sells his jars of Chili Spice!

Overall the event was the perfect way to spend National Chili Day. “A great night of networking for BIA members and friends in the industry with deliciously unique new Chili recipes,” Said Linda Winrod with the BIA, “A perfect & beautiful kitchen setting hosted by BIA members Custom Distributors and their staff.”

If you are interested in joining the Sales & Marketing Council, contact Linda Winrod at If you are interested in joining the Young Professionals Group, contact Marilyn Evans at

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