General Information

  1. The cook-off will be held at Ace of Spades in midtown Sacramento on Saturday November 2, 2019.
  2. We expect 400+ guests.
  3. There will be a VIP hour from 6:30-7:30 p.m. (125 guests) with general admission starting at 7:30 p.m.
  4. Cheftestant registration is between 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Please be on time.
  5. There is a mandatory Cheftestant meeting with the chief scorekeeper at 4:15 p.m. to review rules. Don’t miss it.
  6. All chili must be ready for the judge’s no later than 5:00 p.m., so don’t be late.
  7. Due to limited space, we ask that Cheftestant bring one (1), no more than two (2), pre-registered assistants to the event.
  8. Cheftestants are donating their chili to the River City Chili Cook-off for consumption.
  9. Cheftestants are expected to dispense their chili to attendees from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Leaving early, can result in disqualification.
  10. River City Chili Cook-Off will provide 3 oz soufflé cups and spoons for tasting. We suggest a 2 oz serving.

Cheftestant Stations

  1. River City Chili Cook-Off will provide an 8×10 framed sign with you competitor information, spiciness rating, allergens, and how to vote for the People’s Choice Award.
  2. Cheftestants will be assigned a 3’x6’ station with a tablecloth and limited electrical hook-ups.
  3. The event will be held indoors so no outdoor cooking equipment will be permitted.
  4. Each Cheftestant must supply all cooking equipment.
  5. Cheftestant may bring portable, electric slow cookers (Crockpot) and hot plates. We havelimited electrical outlets available for your use.
  6. Cheftestant may also bring chafing dishes (electric or Sterno fuel).
  7. Cheftestants are encouraged, urged and otherwise motivated to decorate their area, including advertising signage, as long as it does not obstruct the view of adjacent tables, or overlap into another competitors station.
  8. Cheftestants are responsible for their area and chili.
  9. All cooking must be done in a sanitary manner. Conditions are subject to inspection by the chief scorekeeper. Failure to comply is subject to disqualification of the Cheftestant.
  10. At no time should you leave cooked chili unattended (for safety and integrity reasons).

The Chili

  1. Chili must be ready to serve before arrival. Minor finishing is permissible on site prior to the event.
  2. All ingredients must come from approved food sources, so it’s absolutely safe for public consumption (No roadkill).
  3. Chili powder and other spices are fine and dandy, but complete commercial chili mixes are not permitted.
  4. Thickeners such as corn meal, masa or flour are allowed – so are canned tomatoes, chipotles, and beans. Hate to be this obvious, but no canned chili is allowed … just sayin’.
  5. Chili should be prepared before the event and transported at a safe temperature.
  6. Chili should be maintained at a safe serving temperature at all times during the event.
  7. Garnishes, etc. are the responsibility of the Cheftestant.

Awards and Judging

The River City Chili Cook-Off will be presented first, second, and third place awards for both the Judge’s & People’s Choice. Below are the procedures for each award respectively.

Judge’s Choice

  1. Cheftestants will be assigned a competitor number at random by the chief scorekeeper.
  2. Chili will be presented to the judges in a 12oz bowl without a lid for presentation value.
  3. An official of the cook-off will deliver the chili entries to the judges for a blind taste test
  4. Scores will be tabulated by the chief scorekeeper and an official of the chili cook-off.
  5. There is a minimum of 5 up and maximum of 7 judges.
  6. All judges will be given score sheets for each cheftestant’s chili, which have five (5) criteria: Presentation, Aroma, Texture, Taste, and After Taste.
  7. Each criteria will received a score from 0-10 points, with 10 being the highest.
  8. Total Judge’s combined score cannot exceed 250 points per Cheftestant.
  9. The decision of the judges is final.
  10. The chief scorekeeper will announce the River City Chili Cook-off winner around 9:45 p.m. The winning Cheftestant will be presented with bragging-rights of Sacramento’s Best Chili, a plaque, and ceremonial championship belt (we’ll hold on to the belt for safe keeping).

People’s Choice

  1. Cheftestants will serve their chili to attendees of the event.
  2. Voting will be from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
  3. Attendees will vote using an electronic voting system for their favorite chili. The team with the most votes (highest percentage) wins.
  4. Cheftestants should not share the voting link with non-attendees. Sharing of the voting link and password can result in disqualification.
  5. Cheftestants are allowed to entice attendees to vote for the chili. Buying of drinks, promises of free food in exchange for votes in the People’s Choice are frowned upon and can lead to disqualification.
  6. Results are final.
  7. The chief scorekeeper will announce the River City Chili Cook-off People’s Choice Award winner around 9:45 p.m. The winning Cheftestant will be presented with bragging-rights of Sacramento’s Favorite Chili and a plaque.
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