Larry Cole, Vicky Kocsis win champion, reserve Backyard ChefPublished 6:38pm Sunday, August 8, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS — Larry Cole won the fifth annual bragging rights as Cass County’s best Backyard Chef Saturday afternoon, the final day of the 159th fair.
It was Cole’s first solo appearance through friend Jon Silveus.
“We call our team ‘Colepeppers,’ ” Cole said. “We probably do about four contests a year. I helped Jon three years ago do brisket. I do Nappanee (Indiana), but Nappanee is not doing a barbecue contest this year, so I thought, ‘Hey! I’ll go to Cass, Jon’s stomping ground.’ ”
Though it might figure he’d be in side dishes with Cole slaw, Larry waded right into the deep end of the meat arena with filet mignon.
Cole also created a colorful sausage roll for a panel of five judges to sample.
“It’s the best appetizer once someone learns to make it,” he said, a grin creasing his beard.
“You can put it together in 15 minutes and they can’t get enough of it. It’s always a good one to do if they haven’t seen it, but I wouldn’t do it two years in a row.”
By trade, Cole is licensed to fix heating and air and he repairs copiers.
“I do all of Cass County’s typewriters. Been doing it for 15 years,” he said.
In fact, his office machinery shop, Cole Equipment, is located in Dowagiac.
“I’ve recently become a Realtor because I’m getting worn out,” he added. “Jon and I would like to do more cooking and make money at it, but it’s a lot of work.”
Cole and Silveus live in Granger, Ind.
Sunday morning he planned to get up and cook 300 chickens for a non-profit church function.
Reserve champion Vicky Kocsis, a former truck driver who has worked for nine years in transportation for Lewis Cass Intermediate School District, continued her personal quest to bring back down-to-earth burgers as something people actually grill in their backyards while “cracking a beer and visiting with friends.”
She also entered baby back ribs, which she had never entered before, slathered with homemade barbecue sauce.
“The secret ingredient is cloves that people can’t put their finger on,” Kocsis said. “I combined a couple things and got lucky.”
This was Kocsis’s third year in Backyard Chef.
Previous winners include Everett Smith in 2006, Josh Hance in 2007 and 2008 and Lisa Broda in 2009.
Broda and Kocsis are good friends.
Kocsis stuck to side dishes in 2008 to “not step on Lisa’s toes. Last year I said, ‘Game on,’ and took first in beef and second in pork. This year I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do when I went to the store. This year I got second in beef and first in pork.”
Without making wings, “I winged the whole thing,” she said.
“Reserve’s fine and dandy, but next year I’m going for grand.”
Third — Dennis Dominiak, 94.29
Second — Amy Archer, 97.14; $50.
First — Judith Berkshire, 101.71; $100.
Third — Dan Wagner, 134.29.
Second — Vicky Koscis, 138.86; $50.
First — Amy Archer, 148.57; $100.
Third — Amy Archer, 142.29.
Second — Lisa Broda, 153.71; $50.
First — Vicky Kocsis, 157.14; $100.
Third — Amy Archer, 131.43.
Second — Dan Wagner, 134.29; $50.
First — Michelle Schuur, 144; $100.
Third — Dennis Dominiak, 141.14.
Second — Judith Berkshire, 146.29; $50.
First — Larry Cole, 149.14; $100.
Third — Tabitha Streetman, 143.43.
Second — Jon Silveus, 144.57; $50.
First — Larry Cole, 148.57; $100.
Third — Dennis Dominiak, 134.29.
Second — Larry Cole, 140.57; $50.
First — Jon Silveus, 144.57; $100.
Reserve grand champion — Vicky Kocsis, $250, apron and trophy.
Grand champion — Larry Cole, 297.71, $500, apron and trophy.