The second annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-Off, raised more than $20,000 to benefit five nonprofits: Circle of Hope, Inc., Santa Clarita Child & Family Center, Habitat for Humanity, Hardship2Hope.com and Help Philippine Kids.
The event, held March 5 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, was founded by Nicole Stinson, of Estate Realty Group, and Marcy James, of CrossCountry Mortgage. It was attended by more than 1,000 guests who paid a $5 admission fee to sample 42 different kinds of chili.
Each chili was labeled mild, medium or hot. The chili came in all styles, some made with beans, others with no beans, and each chili contained the chef’s own signature blend of spices. Some entries had meat, others were meatless, and a few of the chili chefs declined to disclose the type of meat used, preferring to keep their recipes “top secret.”
Entrants to the chili cook-off came up with some creative names for their recipes including: “Da Bomb, Da Diggity Bomb Home Chili,” “Where You Bean Amigo?” “Dante’s Sweet Inferno Chili,” “Pastor Brad’s Private Reserve Chili,” “Loan Star Chili,” “Drunken Chili,” “Brooks’ Brothers Way Out West Chili,” “Shhh…Don’t Tell ‘Em It’s Good For ‘Em Chili,” “Mad Dog Chili,” “Al’s People Pleasing Chili,” “Bean Churky with Attitude Chili,” “Mad Dog Chili,” “Zen Chili” and “Hunka Hunka Burning Love.”
Dawn Hovhannisyan entered her “Dawn’s Hot and Healthy Chili” in the chili cook-off.
“This is a great, fun event to benefit charity and I love making chili,” she said. “It’s a house staple in our home. This is served on our table on a regular basis.”
Guests were issued one ticket to vote for the chili of their choice. Additional tickets could also be purchased during the evening.
First place was captured by Patrick Raach, of Realty One and Ray Tibbetts, of Circle of Hope, Inc. with their “Two Old Guys Chili.” Tibbetts said the secret to his chili was the addition of 13 spices that he had flown in from Texas just for the occasion.
“I adapted the recipe of a two-time $25,000 national chili contest winner,” he said.
Second place went to Steve Corn of Newhall Escrow. Corn said the recipe for his “Stagecoach Chili” was based on a recipe that won the 1981 World Championship with the International Chili Society.
“I was on the team that won,” Corn said. “I tweaked it a little bit today because I can’t make it as hot for this crowd as we did for the World Championship.”
Third place was won by the Augusta Financial team and Chef Roxie Ramey with their “What does the chili say? Bean bean bean da ding bean bean bean Chili.”
Celebrities on hand to present the winning teams their trophies and prizes included Tracey Gold of “Growing Pains” and Real Andrews of “General Hospital,” said James.
“It’s hard to believe that this event was founded only three years ago on a paper napkin,” James said. “Last year we put together the event in five weeks. This year we have had a year of planning. We learned a lot from the event last year. We are hoping to earn a lot of money for charity this year.”
Stinson said the event, only in its second year, has already outgrown the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Valencia.
“We’re looking for a new location for next year,” she said. “We are blessed that this event has grown so large in just two years, usually it takes a new event a few years to take off.”
In addition to the 42 chili entrants three restaurants, Newhall Refinery, Salt Creek Grille and Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewery, were on hand, each serving a signature chili.
For a donation each restaurant would serve up a portion of chili and then invite tasters to name the chili. Each restaurant will pick a winning name and then serve the chili as a featured item on their menu for a week, said Stinson.
“We were happy to step up and support this event,” said Laina McFerren of Wolf Creek. “It’s for a great cause.”
Title sponsor of the event was Whiting Lighting Teeth Whiting Products. Jen Gerrard, CEO of Whiting Lighting, welcomed guests to the cook-off.
“We are excited to be able to sponsor this event and I hope everyone has a great time and lots of fun,” Gerrard said.
In addition to the chili, cornbread was donated from Lucille’s restaurant and a variety of cupcakes for dessert were offered by Kokolita Cakes.
The event also offered live music from the band, Inferno, a live DJ and the chance to take fun photos in a photo booth.
Miss SCV Kelsie Leach, Little Miss SCV Third Princess Aaniyah Smith and Junior Miss SCV Third Princess Daryn Russo were on hand to sell raffle tickets to the large crowd. The numerous raffle prizes given out were worth nearly $16,000 in value, said Stinson.
“Everything here was donated,” said Stinson. “The community really came together and donated goods and services, as well as raffle items. We were able to put this event on for almost nothing. This way all the money raised goes to help the charities.”
For more information visit www.scvcharitychilicookoff.com.