Called an “Icon of the Chili World” by the president of the Chili Appreciation Society International, Johnson City resident John Raven will be in attendance at the Texas Men’s State Chili Championship.
Raven, a 37 year veteran of the chili cook-off circuit, is the most honored man in the “Chili World”. In 1974, Raven was awarded “Entertainer of the Year” recognition by the Chili Bowl Committee of Dallas, Texas. 1974 was also the first year Raven competed in the Texas Men’s State Chili Championship or as it was known then, “Chilympiad”. Raven competed at Chilympiad for 14 straight years. For several years, he held the number one entry number at the cook-off. In 1981, Raven was honored by the cook-off with the Don Russell Award, “For valued assistance in the promotion of Chilympiad and the world of chili madness”.
In 1979, Raven was named the Chili Appreciation Society International’s “Chilihead of the year” and in 1980, Raven was inducted into the Cowtown (Fort Worth) Pod’s “Hall of Flame”.
In 1982, Raven was recognized by the Cen-Bell Unit of the American Cancer Society for his work organizing chili cook-offs in 1980 and 1981 as fund raisers for their organization.
Raven was inducted into the Chili Appreciation Society International’s Hall of Fame in 1987. He was also named as “Showmanship Team of the decade 1970-1980”.
In 1989, the Original Frank Tolbert-Wick Fowler Terlingua Chili Cook-off honored Raven for, “Continuing support of this prestigious event”.
In 1974, Raven was founder and first publisher of the Goat-Gap Gazette, a newsletter for the chili cook-off world. The publication is still in business today.
Raven stopped competing at chili cooking competitions a few years ago, but keeps in tune with the chili world. He has appeared on the Food Channel as the expert on Texas chili in the program The Secret Life of Chili.
For the past ten years, Raven has been resident expert on Texas and Southwestern style cooking for the online magazine, www.texascooking.com , where he writes Traditional Texas Fare and Ask Dr. John each month.
Raven says he is looking forward to visiting with many of his old friends at the Texas State Men’s Championship.