The JC West Side Chili Cook Off 2017

Just a few weeks to go to the JC West Side Chili Cook Off – and still time to enter and prove what great chili you make!


This is a super fun event (sponsored by WSCA) that I’ve been helping organize for three years now. I’ll post all the rules below, but basically: sign up, make a lot of chili, bring it to Lincoln Park, and share it with your friends and neighbors. We got a couple hundred people at it last time, and it’s free and fun and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I’ve had quite a few people say they look forward to it every year, which makes it so worth it.

Check out our Facebook page or look at the rules below and follow the link to enter. Not a cook? Just join us on that day and eat away! There’s two prizes – the Judges’ Prize (chosen by our esteemed chili experts) and People’s Choice (chosen by the public). Vote for your favorite! And just come out and meet your neighbors and say hi. And get full!


Want to enter in the third annual JC West Side Chili Cook Off?! Read these rules and then sign up at

1. The Cook Off is on Sunday, October 8 at noon. You may arrive at 11am to start setting your station up.

2. You will be provided with a table, two chairs, and a chafing dish to keep your chili warm. You’re encouraged to decorate your station however you like – make it fun and festive!

3. What kind of chili can you enter? ANYTHING! Vegan chili, buffalo chili, four alarm chili, mild chili…. if you can call it chili, we’re open to it. Want to bring sour cream, cheese, or any other condiments? Feel free. How you present your chili is totally up to you and up to your interpretation.

4. How much chili should you bring? A LOT. It’s hard to say exactly how much – you will be provided with small (two tablespoon approx) tasting cups and mini spoons to give out samples to people there. Last year we had at least a couple hundred people in attendance. People often make one round, narrow down their favorites, and then take another taste (or two).

5. What kind of prizes are there? There are two: Judges Choice (picked by a panel of three judges) and People’s Choice. The actual prizes are pretty modest – a gift certificate to a local business and a ribbon. But you get BRAGGING RIGHTS! You get to be the Best Chili Chef on the West Side for a YEAR!!!

6 Can my friends/family come and vote for me in People’s Choice? OH YES! You should stock the competition with as many friends and family members as possible. Spread the word! Get everyone you can to come out and support you.

7. Does it cost anything to participate? No. This event is sponsored by the West Side Community Alliance (WSCA) and they provide everything you need to compete except, of course, for the chili. It’s free to attend, although we do ask for a voluntary donation of a couple of dollars to help us with expenses.

8. When do I have to enter by? OCTOBER 1!