Ludelle Dufour likes people to call her Luke, "because nobody can remember my name," and she likes to cook chili enough to earn an invitation to next month's World Championship Chili Cookoff.
"I'm going to need all the luck I can get," the grandmother of three said Monday. "It's like winning the lottery. You have about that much chance," as a first-time entrant.Dufour has always considered herself a gourmet cook who shares the recipes she develops with friends and family. But she had never entered a chili cook-off until last July.
Then, in her sixth competition - the Four Corners of the World Chili Championship on Aug. 25 at Farmington, N.M. - Dufour won her first title, earning a spot in the Oct. 21 World Championships in Rosamond, Calif.
"I think I was just lucky," competing against chili cooks from Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, she said. "When they said the winner was someone from Brigham City, I said, `That has to be me.' "
But Dufour said, "I don't think I have much of a chance" of winning the $25,000 first prize against the other 83 entrants in the World Championship.
The northern Utah resident uses chili peppers grown in her garden and a secret mix of mild and hot chili powders in her recipe, plus seven cloves of garlic and three onions, both pureed, and her own tomato sauce and chicken and beef broth.
"I use anything that makes it taste good," Dufour said. "But, it's so hot, a regular person won't enjoy it. It would burn the hair off your tongue."
She also uses 4 pounds of top sirloin or boneless rump roast cut into quarter-inch cubes, with the fat trimmed off, "never hamburger."
The championship sponsors provide stoves and preparation areas for the contestants, but Dufour said, "I'm taking my two-burner stove anyway. And, I'm taking my own pots and pans. I just want to make sure I'm ready."