Guest chef judges Steve Skrine, Jeff Mauro and Bendan O'Connor selected Whisky Chili created by Nick Vozzone and Tim Bode as the winner in the 5th annual Opportunity Knocks Chili Cookoff Sunday at Healy's Westside.Courtesy PHIL CARMODY

More than 500 chili-lovers packed Healy’s Westside on Sunday afternoon for the 5th annual Opportunity Knocks Chili Contest.

Twenty-six chili chefs submitted their best beans for the sampling of chef judges Jeff Mauro of Food Network’s The Sandwich King; Steve Skrine of Skrine’s Chops; and Brendan O’Connor, proprietor of Big Guys Sausages on Roosevelt Road in Berwyn.

First-place winners Nick Vizzone and Tim Bode created the Whisky Chili that blew judges away, said Opportunity Knocks board President Phil Carmody. Second-place winner was Tom Ciezki.

A trip to the Dominican Republic, an iPad mini and Chicago Bulls tickets were raffled.

Carmody said the fundraiser raised $20,000 for the charity, which provides day activities for disabled adults at the River Forest Community Center, as well as job training and field trips.

Next up for Opportunity Knocks is the summer 2013 launch of a day program for adults over 22, Carmody said. The group also will hold the Night for Opportunities Gala, April 6, at Elmcrest Banquets in Elmwood Park.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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