2017 Chili Cook-off Rules

Saturday, February 25, 2017 ★1-3PM ★Hill Country Barbecue Market NY
1. Rules for Chili Competition
To enter, a team (up to 4 members) must fill out a competition registration form in its
entirety, and return the completed form along with the recipe they’ll be entering.
Entries can either be dropped off at the restaurant (given to a manager on duty), or
emailed to [email protected] All entries must be received by 4pm on Sunday,
February 17, 2017.
There is no restriction on the type of chili for this competition. We are looking for an
original “Homestyle Chili,” which is defined by the International Chili Society as the
cook’s favorite combination of ingredients resulting in a dish seasoned with chili
peppers and spices. Vegetarian and meat varieties will be judged on the same
merits. The recipe must be an original, unpublished recipe.
The HC Chili Cook-off is limited to 12 teams (first come, first served). Each team must
be comprised of amateur cooks only (professional chefs, caterers, etc. are not
eligible to participate).
1. Chili must be cooked off site the day of the cook-off from scratch. “Scratch” means
starting with raw meat and spices. Commercial chili powder is permissible, but
complete commercial chili mixes or starters are NOT permitted. Some bottled
ingredients may be used, including canned or bottled tomatoes, tomato sauce,
peppers, pepper sauce, beverages, broth or ground spices. Meat may be cut or
2. Only members of the participating team can prepare the chili to be judged.
3. Chili must be prepared in as sanitary a manner as possible.
4. The chili served the day of competition must be made exactly to the specification
of the recipe submitted with the team’s application. All ingredients must be listed
in the recipe.
5. Teams must prepare and bring enough chili for 100 tasting portions.
6. Chili served to the public may NOT include a garnish of any kind (just chili),
although the chili prepared and presented to the judges may include garnish.
7. Each team will be provided with a chafing dish and sterno to reheat their chili on
site the day of the competition for tasting and judging. If you’d like to provide your
own crock-pot, please email Melissa Gold to request electricity near your station.
1. All teams must arrive at Hill Country Barbecue Market no later than 11:45am on
February 25th to begin setting up their stations and heating their chili for tasting.
2. Each team will have a table outfitted with a chafing dish and sterno to heat and
serve their chili. HC will also provide small cups, spoons and napkins for the
tasting, as well as a sign with team name and the name of the dish. If you prefer to
use an electric crock-pot to heat and serve your chili, notify HC prior for power
3. Teams are welcomed to bring linens and other décor to dress up their team’s
4. Teams are responsible for bringing enough chili for the public to taste their chili
(approx. 2-3 oz servings), plus 3 bowls of their own and any garnish to use in the
presentation for the judges.
5. Each team will be assigned a number before the event. That number will be how
they are identified during the judging process.
6. The public tasting and judging will run from 1pm to approximately 2:45pm, with
winners for judges’ pick and people’s choice categories announced immediately
2. Judging
1. The official HC Chili Cook-off winner will be determined by a panel of judges
comprised of members including but not limited to the Hill Country culinary team,
professional chefs, a representative from the benefiting charity and others.
2. Judges will be told that they should vote for the chili, as defined above, based on
the following major considerations: taste (flavor, texture, heat & aroma), creativity
and presentation (plating, color/appearance & garnish).
3. Each chili will be judged on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = LOW, 10 = HIGH) in the three (3)
categories based solely on the bowl presented for judgment, and is not judged
against other team’s entries. Taste accounts for 50% of the total, Creativity counts
40%, and Presentation is 10% of the total score. The total score for each chili is a
tally of all judges’ scores for that entry. Highest total wins.
4. In the event of a tie for first place, the People’s Choice tally will be taken into
consideration for the tied chilis.
1. Each team will send three (3) bowls of chili – all the same with identical plating &
garnish – to the judges’ table for tasting.
2. Teams must provide their own plates/bowls and garnish for presentation. Side
dishes, like cornbread or muffins, will NOT be considered during judging and are
not necessary to provide.
3. A member of the HC staff will transport each team’s bowls to the panel in numeric
order, starting just after the doors open to the public at 1pm. A member of the HC
team will alert a team’s head cook when it’s time to prepare their dish for the
4. This is a blind judging. The panel will not know which team is assigned to which
number. The Monitor will hold a master list with all the team names and their
corresponding ID number.
1. When tapped, teams will send 3 identical plates/bowls of that team’s chili to the
judges via the HC staff.
2. Each judge will be provided with an official judging sheet that outlines judging
criteria. Each sheet includes a table with a dedicated line for each team number
and space for the judge’s scores.
3. One chili will be judged at a time on its own merits. Judges will be instructed not to
compare chilis or discuss their scores amongst themselves during the process.
4. The panel will have a Monitor assigned to the table to answer any questions and
control the judging process. Discussion of the chili is not permitted. The Monitor
will serve as referee if any question arises as to disqualification of a team.
5. Each chili is judged based on three different criteria: taste (flavor, texture, heat &
aroma), creativity and presentation (plating, color/appearance & garnish). Each
category receives a score on a scale from 1 to 10, and then is weighted based on
the category and tallied for the judge’s total score. Taste = 50%, Creativity = 40%,
and Presentation = 10%. Each judge’s total score for a team is then tallied for that
team’s total score and ranking.
6. Judges must cleanse their palates after each chili and used a new spoon for each
7. The Monitor will collect judging sheets and make sure that each judge at the table
has judged & scored each chili. Judges may not re-taste chili after it is passed. The
total points from all the judges will determine the winner.
8. In the event of a tie, the Monitor will tally the count from the People’s Choice poll.
The team with more PC votes, of the tied teams, is the winner.
9. No scores will be revealed until it is time to announce the winners at the end of the
3. People’s Choice Award
1. Guests attending the HC Chili Cook-off will also be given the opportunity to vote in
a People’s Choice contest.
2. Each guest will receive a bottle cap upon arriving at the event, which represents
his/her vote for the PC award.
3. After tasting their way around the room, guests will be asked to drop their bottle
caps into the jar located on their favorite team’s table.
4. At the end of the event, the bottle caps from each team’s jar will be counted. The
team with the most bottle caps wins!
5. The PC award will be announced at the end of the event along with the overall
winners of the HC Chili Cook-off.
4. Questions/Clarification
Contestants are encouraged to ask the organizers any questions for clarification prior to the
Rules & Regulations are based on the International Chili Society’s world championships (www.chilicookoff.com) and Tolbert Rules for the
Terlingua Championship (http://www.abowlofred.com/documents/rules_forms_2013/RULESUpdatedMar2013.pdf