Brady dropped in at the Smith’s Bayou Chili Cookoff on Saturday to express appreciation for the funds raised at the Ferrysburg event being donated to the Coast Guard Work Life Program. Once he started tasting the chili, and talking to the chefs and residents, he couldn’t stop.
“I came here early for a walk-through,” said the commander of Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven. “I’ve been here three hours.”
The seventh annual event took place on Cecilia Street, a cottage and residential area on Smith’s Bayou. Organizer Rebecca Hopp said 14 cooks participated in what turned out to be “our most successful cookoff to date.”
To see more photos from the cookoff, CLICK HERE.
Ivan Perez took multiple honors this year — winning the Hot & Spicy category, People’s Choice and Coast Guard Choice awards.
Kathy Kennedy earned the Best White Chili award, while Jason Lederman was tops in Meek & Mild. John and Brenda Posthuma won Best Table Decoration with their nautical theme and boat bar.
The cookoff — while being a fun, neighborhood event — has also been a fundraiser for different organizations over the years. This year's event benefited the Coast Guard Work Life Program, which assists Coast Guard families with moving and other life expenses.
Brady said the money raised at the cookoff goes directly to the families of local Coasties, “especially our junior members.”
“Coasties move every three years,” he said. “The government doesn’t cover all of their costs.”
Judges for this year’s cookoff included Coast Guard engineer Brad Wise, Michael and Anne Ferguson from the sponsoring restaurant The Rendezvous, and regular Del Corson.