As part of the OB Rag’s team coverage of the 30th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook Off, we’re presenting this little “warm up” for Saturday’s Chili Cook Off.
We’ll have our own correspondent “embedded” deep within this fierce competition. Our citizen-reporter Wireless Mike agreed to take a hit for the OB Rag team and will be at the Chilifest starting as early as he can make it. (We took up a collection for body armor and anti-acids and came up short, so he’s settled for a pint of vanilla ice cream and a ginger ale.) Mike’s bravery and dedication stands in stark contrast to our beloved Mayor, who passed on the opportunity to judge the Cook Off.
Enough with the shameless self-promotion and editorializing, already. First, the facts. Then a little background so this doesn’t completely look like a blatant plug for OBMA and the Street Festival organizers:
Peoples Chili Chefs
Tracy Scott (team name: o-beeya chili)
Deborah Knowles (Red Hot Chili Peckers)
Rob Forsberg (Spenla and Hover)
Tom Wilbur, Julie Stoltz, and Paul Hissong
Ryan Gehris from Cheswicks West
Glyn Franks (OB yacht club)
Glyn Franks (Margaritavilli chili)
Michael De Pompeo
Fred Macdonald (Thunder Carrot)
Kimberly Eastwood (Point Loma Beach Cafe)
Lahaina Beach House (Steve)
Bravo’s Mexican Bistro and Cantina
When & Where:
The Cook Off runs from 10:00am to 2:00pm and is in Veteran’s Park at the foot of Newport Avenue.
Crave’s Cafe & Shades Oceanfront Bistro will be hosting the event.
Come early, as the really “hot stuff” tends to run out by 1 pm or so. It’s $10 for a People’s Choice Tasting Ticket or 50 cents for individual ticket, which are sold at a booth near the flagpole.
Booths dispense small cups of chili & a spoon: you must buy tickets prior to getting in line at any of the booths. (Hint: Longer lines usually mean better Chili) In addition, “Committee Chili”, provided by Craves, will be available for $1 per bowl. Around 3pm the awards are announced from the Main Stage in the OB Pier parking lot.
There are opportunities to vote for your favorite. Awards include: Hottest, Best Decorated booth, Best 92107 entry, and Most Spirited. Funds raised from the Cook Off support the annual 4th of July fireworks display at the OB pier.
The Official Chili Judges assess the quality of entries using the following criteria:
**Meat (if used) Tenderness
Why All The Fuss?
We have no idea. But Chili Cook Offs are a really big deal in the United States.
One of the two groups that sanction these events (the OB event is not sanctioned) has 38 Cook Offs listed for California in 2009. Chiliheads are a cantankerous bunch, rarely agreeing on much of anything except for their love of what Texans call “A Bowl of Red”.
The first recorded event, according to author Linda Stradley at the website What’s Cooking America, was at the Texas State Fair in 1952, when Mrs F.G. Ventura of Dallas was crowned the first ever “World Champion Chili Cook.” She retained that title for 15 years.
The event that launched the Chili Cook Off phenomena as we now know it took place in 1967 Terlingua, Texas. This seminal event was actually a competition between two writers, one of whom had penned an article for Holiday Magazine boasting this his chili recipe was better than anything that was currently being served in Texas. The recipe included beans, which offended many Texans, and the scene was set for a showdown in a remote mining town, located nearly 300 miles from the nearest commercial airport, to discourage non-Texans from attending.
The competition ended in a tie, when the tie breaking judge spit out his chili, declaring that his taste buds were “ruint”, declaring that they would have to re-do the event next year.
According to Sports Illustrated coverage of this historic showdown, the judge was given a spoonful of chili which he promptly spit out…
“Then he went into convulsions. He rammed a white handkerchief down his throat as though he were cleaning a rifle barrel, and in an agonizing whisper…pronounced himself unable to go on.”
And for those of you who think that chili is somehow a Mexican invention, we refer you to the 1959 edition of Diccionario de Mejicanismos, which defines the stuff thusly:
“Detestable food passing itself off as Mexican, sold in the US from Texas to New York.”
For more cool stuff about chili, visit: http://roadkillrojo.com/cookoffconfidential.html