The Chili Cook-Off competition is held in the grassy area between Newport Avenue and the Pacific. Show off your chili cooking chops by competing for great prizes... not to mention the satisfaction of winning!
Interested in competing in the 2018 OB Chili Cook-Off? Use this application (PDF).
Is eating (rather than cooking) delicious chili more your speed? Put your tastebuds to the test and cast your vote alongside the judges!
Chili tasting tickets may be purchased at the Chili Cook-Off booth beginning at 10am the day of the Street Fair. Tastings can be purchased for $2 per entry, or sample them all (and vote for your favorite) for $20 with the Master Ticket! Chili tasting begins at 11am.
Awards will be presented on the Main Stage in the OB Pier parking lot between 2:30pm and 3pm.
Proceeds from the Chili Cook-Off benefit the Annual July 4th Fireworks off the OB Pier.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Ocean Beach Chili Cook-Off Awards!
Judges' Award - 1st Place: Messy Dean's 3-Chunk Chili
Judges' Award - 2nd Place: The Clippsters (Sunset Clipps)
People's Choice - 1st Place: The Clippsters (Sunset Clipps)
People's Choice - 2nd Place: Messy Dean's 3-Chunk Chili
People's Choice - 3rd Place: Wild Wes
Judges' Award - 1st Place: Team Pizza Port! Party On! Excellent! (Pizza Port)
Judges' Award - 2nd Place: Raglan Public House
People's Choice - 1st Place: Wonderland Ocean Pub
Hottest Chili: Noodle House Bar 1502
Best Costumes, Booth, & Decorations: Ocean Dental Care
A brief history of the OB Chili Cook-Off Festival
In 1984, Ocean Beach had its first Chili Cook-off Festival with Mike Akey, 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.
For a list of winners over the last several years click here.