What makes a good bowl of chili?
Farley's Family Restaurant in Hermantown owner, Kelly Trumpold, might be able to tell you. In November, he took sixth place in the World Food Championships Chili competition in Kissimmee, Fla.
"It was an amazing feeling. There is some very stiff competition down there," he said.
The World Food Championships is an annual cooking contest that invites champions from around the world to bring their best recipes and compete to be named cook-off champion. In order to be one of the 50 entrants considered for the competition, chefs must place at a local competition. Kelly's chili tied for the "Hottest Yet Edible" award at the Head of the Lakes United Way's 24th annual Chili Cook-Off at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in September. That award allowed him to enter the competition in Florida.
Kelly was not the only area contestant at the championships. His wife, Elizabeth Trumpold, also took eighth place for her bacon-stuffed French toast dish in the bacon competition. Elizabeth won third place in the Bacon Bash in River Falls, Wis. to earn her slot in the competition.
"We're one of the few teams that have a husband-and-wife duo in two competitions down there," Kelly said. "It was amazing that we'd both made it to the top 10 overall."
The competition begins with a structural challenge. Competitors must make a dish based on a theme or incorporate a specific ingredient. In Kelly's case, his chili needed to have a tailgating theme and include a can of Hormel chili. Kelly said he struggled initially with the challenge, but came in 10th place.
Then for the second round of competition, the chefs were required to make a traditional chili. Kelly relied on his chili recipe from the United Way cook-off for this round.
"The whole reason I started competing was because I won best overall and judge's choice at the cook-off in 2014. That's what got me really excited and thinking that maybe I do have a really good chili," Kelly said.
His traditional chili took eighth place. The 10th place and eighth place scores pushed Kelly into the top 10, which meant he earned a place in the final chili competition. The 10 chefs remaining could make any kind of chili dish they pleased with whatever toppings or ingredients they desired.
Kelly's final dish was the same chili he makes for the restaurant, but he added a little flare by including a poached egg with homemade flour tortillas and a guacamole creme fraiche on top.
"It turned out perfect, exactly what I wanted," he said.
The judges seemed to agree. Kelly's final dish was named second in the world competition and first place in America. His overall score earned him sixth place chili cook in the world.
Over in the bacon competition, Elizabeth fared pretty well herself. She earned 20th place for her structured dish where she had to integrate dumplings. Her bacon-stuffed French toast pushed her into 10th place and secured her a spot in the final competition. In the final competition, Elizabeth had to make a dish which included red snapper fish and, of course, bacon. Her final dish earned her eighth place overall in the bacon competition.
"It was a really busy couple of days. In fact, the day Kelly started in the chili competition was the same day as my final top-10 round for the bacon competition. So we were literally cooking for 14 hours that day," Elizabeth said. "It was worth it, but it was exhausting."
The top-10 placers at the championships automatically receive invitations to return the next year. Both Trumpolds plan to go back and try again.
"It's too much fun not to go back. You meet so many people throughout the competition and they become your food family," Elizabeth said. "Whether we win or lose, we still get to meet these amazing chefs from all over the world. That's the best part."