The first "Great Political Chili Challenge" Wednesday evening at the Avion On The Water was a rousing success, due in large part to the hard work of veteran radio personality Pete Gabriel, who is president of the Boardman Optimist Club and mastermind of the event.
No, there were no food fights and no officeholder was poisoned by a potential opponent. Indeed, the challenge, which was sponsored by the Optimist Club and presented by The Vindicator, News Radio 570 WKBN and WKBN 27 First News, went off without a hitch.
Here's a e-mail that Gabriel sent the day after:
"Hi Chef ...
Thanks for everything you've done for our fund raiser. We had hoped to make about $1000 or $2,000 and our net is $3,755.31.
Hottest Chili .... Dave Ditzler
Most Unusual Chili ... Capri Cafaro
Favorite Political Chili ... Dave Ludt (they Truly "Stuffed The Ballot Box")
Favorite Celebrity Chili ... (Guess Who ... Did you guys have to stuff the ballot box as well?)
Again ... Thanks from all of us.
Full disclosure demands that this celebrity chef, along with Vindicator Editor Todd Franko, give credit to the creator of the chili that won the Favorite Celebrity award: Terrie Franko (wife of Editor Todd.)
No, there was no ballot box stuffing, although the free handouts of The Vindicator featuring Youngstown's own Kelly Pavlik did bring crowds to the table.
And yes, the very creative crock pot prize was sent home to Terrie. Perhaps she'll share her recipe with us.