Under clear skies, a cool breeze flowed through the open bay at Fort Hood Central Fire Station as 18 various on-post organizations took part in the 2014 Fort Hood Garrison Command Chili Cook-off on Feb. 13.

“The chili cook-off is a good way to get everybody’s spirit back up and have some good competitive fun,” said Susan Davis, Garrison Command executive secretary.

The contest consisted of two rounds, she said.

During the first round, equipped with plenty of water, napkins, and grapes to cleanse their pallets, a panel of six judges sampled 17 different entries.

“We scored the entry according to different categories, such as color, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste,” said Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Gault, a competition judge.

As the judges finished sampling, some were left with a greater appreciation of the vast diversity in the community.

“When you taste the chili, you can definitely taste the culture,” Gault said, “Some chili is really spicy, others have a Hawaiian taste to it, and others you can taste the bell pepper.”

“It was real nice to know that we have a lot of cultures and a lot of good cooks within garrison,” he added.

The judges then tallied their votes to reveal the three finalists. Those whose entries had been eliminated became to judges for the second round.

Bruce Davis, a garrison employee, took first place. He proved patience and dedication to be the main ingredients to his success.

“I did three batches of chili,” Davis said. “I got my co-workers to critique them real hard and I perfected it.”

As the event came to a close and all returned to work, the participants spoke of the importance of this kind of event.

“Any time you can do something like this it draws everybody out to participate, get away and out of the office for a little bit and I think it’s good,” Davis said.

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