Chili Cook-Off

Rules & Info

Entry Form




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6th Annual Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Chili Cook-Off

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Competition Rules & Judging Information

Divisions & Entry Fees

Teams may enter one of the following divisions in either, or both, the Red and Vegetarian Red categories.

Amateur- $50      Professional - $75

Amateur - The home-cooking talented amateur.

Professional - The chef that prepares delicacies for others (including restaurants, camps, universities, corporate kitchens, etc.).


Public Tasting

  • Spectators may purchase tasting kits ($9) containing bowl, spoon, five taste tickets, and a People's Choice Ballot.
  • Kits will be available to purchase at 10:00am. Public tasting begins at 1:00pm.
  • A spectator must present a taste ticket to receive a two (2) ounce taste of your chili
  • Taste Tickets are required even after ticket buckets are turned in. NO CHILI GIVEAWAYS!

Competition/Cooking Rules


Chili Definitions:

  • Red Chili is defined as a spicy stew containing any combination of spices and ingredients, cooked with MEAT and having a red hue (may have beans and/or pasta)
  • Red Vegetarian Chili is defined as a spicy stew containing any combination of spices and ingredients -EXCEPT meat- cooked to a red hue (may have beans and/or pasta).
  • International Chili Society cook-off rules DO NOT apply.


Minimum Chili Amounts:

  • Amateur teams are required to cook a minimum of three (3) gallons.
  • Professional teams are required to cook a minimum of seven (7) gallons.
  • Teams may prepare as many gallons as they wish.
    The more chili you make, the better your chance to win!
  • Teams not preparing the minimum amounts will be disqualified from the competition.


Cooking Times:

  • There shall be a one-hour preparation period and a three-hour cooking period.
    See Cook-Off Schedule for times.



  • No ingredients may be pre-treated in any way prior to the preparation period – the only exceptions are canned goods, grinding and/or mixing of spices, pre-soaked beans, and pre-cut or ground meat. All other ingredients shall be chopped or prepared during the preparation period.


Contestants Must Supply:

  • All their ingredients and utensils (one ladle will be provided)
  • Contestants are allowed (but not required) to give away bread, crackers, corn chips, and/or other toppings to spectators. NO BREAD BOWLS.
  • For everyone's safety, NO GLASS CONTAINERS are permitted on the Boardwalk.
  • Coleman-type stove (non-liquid fuel ONLY). Please pre-test all stove gas hose lines before the event. Using soapy water to locate leaks in the hose or fittings is recommended. Leaking propane systems cannot be used for cooking.
  • If you intend to use a table-top butane stove, you must supply a nonflammable tile-type surface to place on top of the table.
  • Propane tanks must be no bigger than 5gallons/20lbs (typical BBQ size) and must be secured. You may have one extra tank for back up.
  • There is NO ELECTRICITY available. Gasoline is prohibited.
  • ABC type fire extinguisher (MUST be a minimum of 2A10-BC, bigger will be accepted). This identification can be found on the label. All fire extinguishers are to be certified.
  • A 10x10 covering/canopy if desired
  • Decorations for their booth and their cooking areas as points will be given for booth décor for the Most Original Team award.
  • Decorations may NOT be attached to Boardwalk walls, rides, or other structures. No helium cylinders allowed.
  • All team-members, decorations, and cooking assistants must be INSIDE the designated booth space.


The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Will Supply (on event day):

  • One (1) 6 ft. table and 10x10 cooking area. All booths should not exceed 10x10 or 8' in height.
  • One 2oz serving ladle
  • Two trash bags- Teams are responsible for cleaning up their cooking areas
  • One parking pass
  • Two All-Day Ride Tickets for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
  • Two complimentary team t-shirts
  • People's Choice Ballot Box
  • Taste Ticket Box


(Click here for Awards list)


Best Chili

  • Chili tastings are blind and are judged on a point basis for 1) flavor, 2) color, 3) consistency.
  • Judges will give greater consideration to traditional recipes.
  • A judging time and 16oz judging cup will be delivered to each team between 12noon-1pm.
  • It will be the team's responsibility to fill the judging cup and deliver the chili to the judging area at the allotted judging time.
  • At approximately 2:45-3:00pm, Red Con Carne team finalists will be asked for another 16oz sample for the judges.


People's Choice

  • The People's Choice award is determined by ballot. Ballots are included in each tasting kit, and are cast by the tasting public at each cooking team's table.
  •  It will be the responsibility of the team to deliver their People's Choice ballot box to the judging area at 3:15pm.


Most Tasted

  • The Most Tasted awards are determined by the total number of taste tickets collected by each team.
  • It will be the responsibility of the team to deliver their Taste Ticket box to the judging area at 3:15pm.


Most Original Team

  • Most Original Team award will be determined by our chili judges based on originality of costume and booth decorations.
  • Chili judges will judge all booths between 12:30pm-1:30pm.

Thank you to our Chili Cook-Off Sponsors

Xfinity KWAV logo

The Hippo

KCDU Good Times