Chili Cook-Off - 11 AM to 1:30 PM | Ocean Beach San Diego CA

Chili Cook-Off - 11 AM to 1:30 PM

We are no longer accepting chili cook-off applications. See you there!


The Chili Cook-Off is located in the grassy triangle at the foot of Newport Avenue just north of the festival’s Main Stage.

Tasting Information

Saturday, June 22, 2024!

Chili Cook-Off Tasting and Master Tickets Can Only Be Purchased at the Booth in Veterans Plaza (Cash Only). They are no longer available on the website.

Pre-Paid Master Tickets MUST be picked up by noon at WILL CALL at the ticket booth located in Veterans Plaza.

Is eating (rather than cooking) delicious chili more your speed? Put your tastebuds to the test and cast your vote alongside the judges!

Featuring tasting booths in amateur and restaurant divisions, the Chili Cook-Off tastings begin at 11 am and end when contestants run out of samples, around 1:30 pm.  If you want to try every recipe and vote for the best, you can purchase a Master Ticket for $25. All Sales Final. No refunds are available.


Chili judging will be based on ICS guidelines for:

  • Consistency
  • Taste – like chili
  • Color – looks like chili
  • Smell – good like chili
  • Meat (if used) – tender

Prizes and Awards

Judges’ Awards

1st Place $400
2nd Place $250

People’s Choice
1st Place $450
2nd Place $300
3rd Place $200

Hottest Chili - $50
OB Spirit Award - $150

Judges’ Awards
1st Place Plaque + bragging rights
2nd Place Plaque + bragging rights

People’s Choice Restaurant Division
1st Place Award Plaque + bragging rights


Team Division
Bart & Dave’s Silly Chili Amateur
Cali Cowboy Chili Cabron Amateur
California Wild Ales Amateur
Earth Tripp Chili Amateur
Farmers' Market Chili Amateur
Feline Fire and the Green Spice Squad Amateur
Grate Full Chili Amateur
Kanes K-9 and Animal Rescue Amateur
Old Mission Beach Athelitc Club (OMBAC) Amateur
Rocket Chili Amateur
Rockin Chili Amateur
SeaSats Amateur
Shaka Chili Brah Amateur
Slow Cooked and Submerged Amateur
The Taste Buds Amateur
Trippin Hot Chili Amateur
La Doña Restaurant
OB Surf Lodge Restaurant
Pizza Port Restaurant
Raglan Public House Restaurant
Team BBQ House Restaurant
Wonderland Ocean Pub Restaurant


A brief history of the OB Chili Cook-Off Festival

A Brief History of the Chili Cook-OffIn 1984, Ocean Beach had its first Chili Cook-off Festival with  Mike Akey, the current board of directors member of the OB MainStreet Association, as its founder. Back in the 1970s, Mike and his father Angie Scaramuzzo were chili enthusiasts and often traveled to chili cook-offs in the likes of Las Vegas, Balboa Island, Cabo San Lucas, and Guadalajara, just to mention a few. Mike’s dad once went to the world competition in Rosemond, California (a ghost town), to compete with his “Scaramuch Chili.” Angie also founded the Lake Havasu City Chili Cook-Off which is still going on today.

Mike thought about starting a cook-off in OB and made the decision to do so in 1984. For the first three years, the chili cook-offs were sanctioned by the International Chili Society (ICS), and the winner was eligible to go to the State Cook-Off, which could have potentially led to the National Cook-Off. In 1987, Akey and his committee decided to change to an Amateur Cook-Off, though they still use the basics from the ICS for judging.

The Cook-Off also used to have a Shoot and Holler Contest – basically, a shot of tequila and then a shout in the microphone . . . the loudest person got the award. "We also enjoyed the Mr. Hot Sauce and Miss Chili Pepper Contest during the same time period. We eventually had to stop that," said Mike. "It got a little too risqué and was developing into a bikini contest."

In the early days, bales of hay lined part of the 4900 block of Newport Avenue to provide seating for the Chili Cook-Off. Eventually, the OB Chili Cook-Off moved to the OB Pier parking lot, but the blacktop was just too hot. The move to Veterans Plaza on the grass really filled the bill and has been the site for our Cook-Off ever since, with over three times the number of contestants!

Thanks to Mike Akey and his dad for founding the OB Chili Cook-Off so that we can all enjoy it again this year.

Ocean Beach Street Fair Chili Cook-Off Festival 1985

Partial List of Winners and Awards from the Last Several Years

2004 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2005 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2010 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2011 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2012 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2013 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2014 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2016 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2018 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2019 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2022 Chili Cook-Off Winners

2023 Chili Cook-Off Winners


Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off
Ocean Beach MainStreet Association
BUZZ Cannabis
US Bank
Hodads Ocean Beach San Diego
Dirty Birds Ocean Beach
Krisp Beverage and Natural Foods
Gallagher Bolander Smedley LLP
Cabeza Records
Catrina Russell
The Peninsula Alliance
Submerge Church
Terra Lawson Remer District 3 County of San Diego
Ocean Beach Woman's Club
San Diego Commission of Arts and Culture
County of San Diego
Centric Marketing
Intrepid Network Inc
Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation
Raising Canes Chicken Fingers
San Diego Gulls
The Artist Outpost