Everyone seems to have a favorite chili recipe. Even for those who don’t possess culinary prowess, chili is a dish that withstands tinkering well — add a dash of this and a sprinkle of that; serve it with a host of different toppings; switch up the beans or the meat — it somehow always turns out beautifully. 

At least that’s what Leah McElmoyl of DeKalb County has experienced. 

“I’m really not much of a cook,” she said. “My husband, Clint, is the chef in our house. He knew how to cook when we started dating. He has a big grill and loves to cook for large groups of people. He’s done wedding receptions and parties and all kinds of things.”

So when Leah, who is an attorney in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was approached at work about representing her firm in a chili cook-off, she asked Clint to help her come up with a recipe — the winning recipe. 

“That’s how the spicy red chicken chili was born,” she said. “We beat several chefs with that recipe.”

Although her chili recipes are delicious, they’re simple to prepare and don’t take long to make. That’s essential for the McElmoyls’ busy lifestyle. Clint is associate director of Auburn University’s Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center, manages a herd of registered Hereford cattle and serves on the DeKalb County Farmers Federation Board of Directors. Leah, in addition to being an attorney who specializes in estate planning, is involved with Alfa’s Young Farmers and is a current member of the A.L.F.A Leaders Class. 

“We both stay pretty busy, and we don’t always get home at the same time every night,” Leah said. “So if we’re cooking during the week, it’s got to be simple and fast. My chili recipes definitely fit those criteria.”