Bob Plager has won $25,000 again! At the International Chili Society's (ICS) World's Championship Chili Cookoff at the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, California on October 13, 2013. Competing against 131 other Red Chili competitors, his chili came
out on top once again. He is the only Back to Back World's Champion in ICS history to complete this feat. Last year, he won the World's Championship in Charleston, West Virginia, competing against a field of 132 competing cooks. In one year, he has won $50,000 for turning in two bowls of great tasting Red Chili.
As Bob says, you have to cook great chili, but also have the luck factor on your side, to be able to get off the Preliminary table and get to the Finals table to be judged. Out of 28 chili's on the Final table, Bob came up first again, with delicious tasting chili, which he cooked using his special water from Farmers Branch, Texas (a Dallas suburb), and the use of two Sunsweet brand pitted prunes, which he claims “Gives the chili a little sweetness and gives the gravy a beautiful gloss”.
Bob's chili recipe has evolved over the years, since he started cooking competively in 1980, back in Texas (he now lives in Littleton, Colorado). In 1985, the Top of Texas Chili Pod (a Dallas based CASI group aka Chili Appreciation Society International), presented him with a set of plastic measuring spoons at a meeting. It seems that Bob had been using a Wendy's restaurant spoon as his basis for measuring spices. The next weekend, he went to a cookoff, and won First Place, and has continued his uphill climb to cooking great bowls of red over the years.
Bob is a three (3) time International Champion in Red Chili, having won in 1996, 1998, and 2006, at the Original Tolbert Terlingua International Championship/Behind the Store (Tolbert/Behind the Store), in Terlingua, Texas, which is another one of the three competing chili organizations. He has proven his chili cooking abilities with those wins, and now two International Chili Society (ICS) wins.
Bob and his wife, Kathy, who is the 1998 ICS Red Chili World's Champion, compete against each other at chili cookoffs continuously. For the past several years, they have traveled the country promoting ICS chili cookoffs. Bob is known as the “social butterfly”, conversing to cooks and the public, but still knows when to get serious about cooking his chili, and turn in for judging a winning bowl of red, which he does most of the time.
Three-peat… Bob say's “it's still too early to think that far ahead”.