Supper Bowl: Local chef wins big in Lock Yard’s Chili Cookoff

winner of lock yard chili eating contest posting outside restaurant
Trish Walkin declared victory at the 7th annual Lockwood Chili Cookoff on Feb. 11.
Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

The biggest Sunday in football started as it has for the past seven years in southern Brooklyn — with the annual Chili Cookoff at Lock Yard gastropub in Bay Ridge, where nearly two-dozen chefs arrived on Feb. 11 ready to compete. 

Around 20 Brooklynites prepped their best chili for the occasion, said Lock Yard owner Chris Ghiorzi, and presented them to two judges – Lock Yard chef Kenn McGoey and Frank Tilelli, who created the South Bk Food and Drink group on Facebook.

chili cook off judges at lock yard
Judges Kenn McGoey and Frank Tilelli assessed each chili. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Each chili was evaluated on six criteria — including aroma, taste, and color.

“We don’t say, ‘Go home and make it on these criteria,’ it’s just how I judge food professionally, like I’m in a kitchen,” McGoey said. 

This year, six of the entries were vegan, Tilelli said. 

“They were all great, some just a little bit better than others,” he said. “We had no bad entries.”

Once the tasting was done, McGoey and Tilelli compared their notes to choose the first, second, and third place winners and a runner-up. It was a tough choice, but Tilelli said “the other judge and I, we were in total agreement.”

chili cookoff winner with key and trophy
Trish Walkin took home the Cookoff trophy and will have her name added to Lock Yard’s giant key. Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

This year’s first-place winner was local Trish Walkin, who was awarded a trophy and the chance to have her name added to a giant key inside Lock Yard. 

“Every year the we have a winner and the winner gets a trophy and their name on the key,” Ghiorzi said. “We’re Lock Yard, used to be a locksmith. It’s a tradition we hold pretty dear.”

Walkin even trounced her boyfriend, Billy, who came in third place, she said.