By: Angie Harris
Saturday afternoon the smell of chili was in the air around the fairgrounds. The 13th Annual Palladium Society's Chili Cook-Off was held to benefit the Historic Columbia Society.
Twenty-five chili recipes were entered into the contest and the judging was done by local chefs and celebrities.
Historic Columbia Foundation executive director, Robin Waites, says the event brings in close to 500 people every year, which is a far cry from the event's humble beginnings.
"This actually started out as a really small event, we had about 50 people the first year which was 13 years ago, we had it at one of our houses," Waites said.
Caterer Jeff Hoskins has been cooking chili and entering the contest for years. This year he chose to enter his vegetarian chili, called H Squared, which stands for heart healthy.
"In place of ground beef we used veggie crumbles like the Morning Star and the Boca crumbles and it gives it a nice texture and it's not ground beef but it's very close," Hoskins said.
Hoskins looked up the top 25 heart healthy foods and chose some of them to be the main ingredients in his H Squared Chili.
The crowd seemed to enjoy his non-traditional chili recipe.
"We sold out, a lot of people say they can't believe it's a vegetarian chili, they think it's got meat in it," Hoskins said.
The judges loved his chili too.
Hoskins picked up the award for the Best Vegetarian Chili.