HAMLET — City Manager Jonathan Blanton got ahead of accusations of bias in his role as a judge at Thursday’s second annual Seniors vs. Service Members Chili Showdown, which — for the second time in its existence — was won by Detective Capt. Randy Dover of the Hamlet Police Department.
“Raises a lot of eyebrows doesn’t it — two city employees as judges,” Blanton jokingly goaded the crowd of two dozen at the Hamlet Senior Center, referring to himself and Parks and Recreation Director Maurice McLaurin, charged with measuring the savoriness of Dover’s chili against that of his senior challengers.
Senior Pamela Young came in second, competing for the first time after joining the center in November.
She was happy with the performance of her chili, which she made with fire-roasted tomatoes, hamburger, onions and bell peppers, along with spicy V8 juice.
“I like it spicy,” she said. “Chili is one of the things I really enjoy making.”
Carrol Lawson of the senior center also submitted an entry but didn’t place with her concoction of ground beef, tomato sauce, pinto beans, bell peppers, garlic, onion, corn and a secret seasoning.
Competing for the first time, she said she would “keep doing it until I win” — maybe with different ingredients. Lawson said she never makes the same chili twice.
Four of the five submissions came from seniors and only one — Dover’s — from a public servant. He had kept it simmering in a slow cooker on the floor of his office all morning, its aromas filling the air of the police station,
Thursday’s version wasn’t his usual recipe, he said. He’d toned down the spices a bit to prevent complaints of burned palates.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]