Chili Cook-Off Stirs Up Boardwalk Fun

SANTA CRUZ, CA (October 27, 2017) – The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 8th annual Chili Cook-Off gets underway this Saturday, October 28. More than 50 Northern California chefs will be mixing up large pots of chili for public tasting along the Boardwalk. Competitors are hoping to win cash prizes and bragging rights for their efforts.
 Most of the 55 entries are for traditional chili, but vegetarian chili retains a loyal Santa Cruz following with 9 different chefs preparing a meat-free option.
While the chili competition is serious business, the atmosphere is all about fun. In hopes of winning a cash prize for Most Original Team, contestants will be cooking in costume in a creatively-themed booth. This year’s crop of creative team names includes: Bean There Done That, 4 Men and a Jalapeno, Chili Chili Bang Bang, and Aincho Ordinary Chile.
Professional competitors include former Bravo TV “Top Chef” competitor Michael Midgeley of Midgley’s Public House in Stockton, Derek Rupp of East Side Eatery, Ryan Pang of Bad S. BBQ,  Mark Oza from Jack O’Neill Lounge, Jason Perez from Green Hills Café, and Aaron Keifer from Solaire Restaurant & Bar in Santa Cruz.   
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit Leo’s Haven, an inclusive wheelchair-accessible playground planned for Chanticleer Park in Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz Playground Project is on track to raise $2 million in private funds by June 2018. For more information visit the Leo’s Haven booth, near Speed Bumps bumper cars.
Admission to the Chili Cook-Off is free. Visitors can watch chefs prepare their chili, and for $10.00 taste up to six different samples as well as vote for the People’s Choice winner. Tasting kits are for sale at Boardwalk ticket booths. Cooking begins at 10:00 a.m., tasting starts at 1:00 p.m., and winners will be announced at 4:00 p.m.
Boardwalk rides are open during the event, weather permitting. For more information visit

# # #