WHEELING - Calling all chili cooks!
It's time to polish up your best recipes and register for the 12th Annual Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff set for June 1 at Wheeling's Heritage Port. All proceeds once again will benefit the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
There is a new category for competition in this year's event - Homestyle Chili - which means anything goes for ingredients, as long as there are chili spices and peppers included. This new category opens competition to vegetarian and vegan cooks, and those who like to add beans, pasta, potatoes, rice, or other similar ingredients to their chili.
Judges for the Verde (Green) Division of the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff begin tasting the entries during the 2012 Cookoff. The Cookoff categories of Red, Verde and Salsa are sanctioned events by the International Chili Society and are conducted under specific regulations.
Rose Humway-Warmuth, cookoff chair, said the Commercial Cooks category is open to all comers, as well.
While the Commercial Division traditionally has included restaurants and caterers, Humway-Warmuth said other groups can enter this category, which allows the entrants to bring prepared chili to the event, rather than preparing it on-site.
"Businesses, clubs, even groups of friends can enter as Commercial Cooks and have a great time serving up chili," Humway-Warmuth said. "If an entrant cannot attend the event in person, but still wants to provide chili, the United Way booth volunteers will serve up the chili and give the entity credit."
Brian Warmuth, champion chili cook and "Head Chili" for the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff, offers cooks the Top 10 Reasons the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff is the best:
10. Easy in, easy out.
9. Great views of the Ohio River and Suspension Bridge from the cook site.
8. All concrete footing, and we supply your tents, tables and chairs.
7. Live music all day long! Where else can you have more fun on the first Saturday in June?
6. We've been perfecting our event for 12 years.
5. You're invited to a free Cooks' Party on Friday night with live music, food and drinks.
4. You are helping a great charity that serves those who are less fortunate.
3. Revised and upgraded competition with BIG MONEY for the top cooks.
2. A chance to qualify for the 2013 World Food Championships in Vegas, baby!
And the number 1 reason to attend - the top cook at the Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff wins prize money AND qualifies for the ICs World Chili Cookoff!"
Commercial Cooks can sell menu items other than chili and may distribute menus and other giveaways or coupons. They may also promote their businesses or groups any way they like, Humway-Warmuth said.
Chili cooks in the Homestyle category and Commercial Division are eligible for cash prizes. The first place Homestyle winner will receive $200. The Homestyle category, which is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, will make the top winner eligible to compete in the 2013 ICS World Cookoff Oct. 11-13 in Palm Springs, Calif. The winner also will qualify for the 2013 World food Championships in Las Vegas, hosted by the Travel Channel's Adam Richman.
Commercial Cooks can win cash prizes from judging for First Place to Honorable Mention. The public will vote also for the People's Choice winner, who is chosen by the number of chili sample tickets collected during the day. A prize also will be awarded for Showmanship/ Best Booth Decoration.
The Wheeling Feeling Chili Cookoff begins at noon, with entertainment by Steel Cassa and Deja Vu. There also will be a car show.
Sponsors for the event are The City of Wheeling, Carenbauer Distributing, Chesapeake Energy, WTRF-TV7, and JP MorganChase.
For information on entering the cookoff, please contact Humway-Warmuth or Allison O'Konski at 304-234-3617 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.