Monday, January 08, 2007

MONDAY - January 8, 2007

Birth Announcement
Paul and Sarah Whitney would like to announce the birth of the newest member of Wild Whit's Snakepit Chili Team. Paige Ashton Whitney was born on January 4th at 7:49 am. She weighed 6 lbs, 3 oz. She was 19 and a half inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing fine. We came home from the hospital on Friday and have had a lovely few days together. For those of you just dying to meet her, she'll have her coming out party at the back to backs in Phoenix in March. Best of luck to you all, Happy New Year!

Time for South Florida Chili


Well, it’s that time again. Three (3) South Florida WCCC Qualifiers within two weeks; two of them back-to back.


99.9 Kiss Country Chili Cookoff on Sunday January 28th at CV Smith Park in Pembroke Pines (Broward County). This is a HUGE EVENT on its 22nd year; for illustration, this year entries will be “limited” to 84 teams…


For a great promotional/marketing video, go to, click on “Click here for more information, then click on “Click here for the Chili Cookoff Video”. Turn up the volume; it’s about 10 minutes long and I believe you’ll enjoy it (Carol & Vickie, recommend taking a look…talk about great marketing).


Entertainment is World Class (think of it as a concert with a chili cookoff). Paid public attendance is well north of 45,000 (that’s forty five thousand) – great for the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County who is the beneficiary.


Top quality country music goes on the entire day, with the advertised main featured acts consisting of multiple headliners, each who in most cases would be the sole main attraction at a concert. This year’s featured performers (six headliners): Montgomery Gentry, Trace Adkins, Sugarland, Darryl Worley, Taylor Swift and Jo Dee Mesina…WOW!


Team entry fee is a bit pricey ($125), but it includes four tickets to the entertainment - $38 ea. retail. However, this doesn’t seem to deter the (principally) local teams who come year after year to party with family, friends, neighbors (many buy additional tickets beyond the four allotted) and, oh yes, cook chili.


Party they do; starting at dawn (cooking breakfast) and going all day to include multiple grills for fixing lunch etc., it is quite a show. The Booths and Showmanship are incredible; sort of brings back memories to some of us “long time” (read older) ICS members…


This year, Salsa has been added to Traditional Red. For all you non-local ICS cooks who are planning on attending the 2007 Super Bowl (in Miami the following Sunday), a great opportunity for an early qualifier!


If you can’t make the 99.9 Kiss Country Cookoff, but still have a hankering to combine a South Florida winter vacation with some chili cooking, have we got a deal for you! Back-to-back qualifiers over one weekend.

Chili in the Village on Saturday, February 10th at Pinecrest Gardens in Miami Dade County (next to Coral Gables).

Salsa, Verde and Traditional Red qualifiers in a lovely, rain forest type location, previously described by ICS cook Marilyn Frederick as “the most beautiful place I’ve cooked chili”. Pinecrest Gardens is the former location of the Miami Parrot Jungle, which the Village of Pinecrest (home of Dwayne Wade, 2006 NBA Finals MVP for you non-NBA fans) took over when the Parrot Jungle moved to Watson Island.

The cookoff also includes a “Best of Miami Chili” Restaurant Competition, which is judged separately. As we’ve all experienced, this takes care of “feeding the crowd” until your “chili is ready”, which makes for a better all around experience for everybody.

A very “family friendly” event, this year, the cookoff is associated with a new (for the cookoff) not-for-profit organization – “Informed Families” . This is one of the premier organizations in South Florida (all of Florida actually), whose mission of “Helping Kids Grow Up Safe, Healthy and Drug Free” enjoys broad support at all levels of community, business and government.

Florida Keys Chili Cookoff on Sunday, February 11th at Rowell’s Marina in Key Largo.

Salsa, Verde and Traditional Red qualifiers in the northernmost of the beautiful Florida Keys. This great waterfront location (Florida Bay side – right side going south) is on the northern end of Key Largo, right on the Overseas Highway (US-1) around Mile Marker 105; it is about an hour’s drive from the Saturday cookoff in Pinecrest Gardens.

In previous events, many out-of town cooks have stayed in motels at Florida City, where the last few years organizers have arranged for cookoff special rates (I assume again, but I’ll follow up to confirm). Florida City is where the Florida Turnpike ends and it is about half-way between the two cookoffs.

This cookoff also has a “cookoff within a cookoff”; the non-ICS “amateur division” (by inference, this makes the ICS cookoff the “professional division”) which is judged separately. Once again, this provides volumes of chili for the crowd until your “chili is ready”.

The cookoff is put on by the Rotary Club, who do a superb job (ask any cooks who have cooked in the past) and for whom it is one of their top fundraisers (net $30,000+++; which gives you a feel for the size of the crowd). I expect this year they will make significantly more; the crowd has grown every year and this year, they have also added a Saturday concert/party with a “Texas Hold Em” tournament.

For any cooks considering flying, two South Florida airports are nearby: Miami International (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL). FLL is a little further North (about 20 miles, all Interstate), but it is normally less expensive because practically every discount airline flies there; it also has one of the most convenient rental car locations (especially if you fly Southwest; you walk across a pedestrian foot bridge).

Well, that’s it for now. All the cookoff are on the ICS website; hope to see a lot of cooks at these great cookoffs and perhaps this year we’ll get to Preliminary/Finals Tables (over 25 cooks) for the back-to-back events,

Sergei Kowalchik

Chief Judge


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