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Red Hot Winners at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off

SANTA CRUZ, CA (October 31, 2017) – Dozens of chili chefs lined the Boardwalk under sunny autumn skies for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 8th Annual Chili Cook-Off on Sunday.  Amateur and professional contestants came from all around the San Francisco Bay Area and as far away as Los Angeles and Reno.
Professional Chili Division
Derek Rupp of East Side Eatery in Santa Cruz was the event’s biggest winner, the judges awarded Rupp first place for his professional con carne and third place for his vegetarian chili. In addition to the judge’s awards, the public also favored East Side Eatery with a People’s Choice Award. Rupp is no stranger to winning Boardwalk cooking competitions, in past years he has also won top honors in the Boardwalk’s Clam Chowder Cook-Off.
Another Boardwalk favorite, Ryan Pang of Bad S. BBQ@QBB Mountain View placed 2nd for his professional chili and also won Most Tasted Professional. Lauren Linkemyer of Something to Taste in Aptos cleaned up with 3rd place.
In the professional vegetarian category, former Top Chef competitor Michael Midgley of Midgley’s Public House in Stockton took first place; Jose Landeros of Soquel took 2nd place.
Amateur Chili Division
In amateur competitions, Travis Simbulan of Felton won first place with Simbulan’s Outrageous Smokin’ Hot Mess. Michele Hartmangruber of Fremont cooked up the top vegetarian chili with her Dragon Mama’s Politically Incorrect Chili.
The Boardwalk’s chili competition was serious business, but the atmosphere was all about fun. A $250 cash prize for “Most Original” team went to Dirato Grotto from Concord for their stylish western steam-punk theme.
Wine With Swine from San Jose sported dreadlocks, tie dye, and a kick-back attitude while stirring up their winning chili. They were rewarded with multiple honors winning People’s Choice Amateur and Most Tasted Amateur, they also took 2nd place for Most Original Team.

Leo’s Haven, an inclusive wheelchair-accessible playground, planned for Chanticleer Park in Santa Cruz, will receive a $4,000 donation from event proceeds. The Santa Cruz Playground Project is on track to raise $2 million in private funds by June 2018.    

For a complete list of winners, links to photos, and more information about the annual event visit .

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