The Queen Mary Event Park is a spectacular venue for any event, featuring green grass and mature trees nestled on a bay virtually beneath the bow of RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor.  In 1999 the International Chili Society held the California State Championship here, along with the inaugural ICS Chili Verde competition.  We were impressed by the venue then, and after Sunday’s chili event we are still impressed.

Due to a series of miscommunications the cookoff conflicted with the event traditionally held in Camarilloon Labor Day weekend.  For that reason, it was designated that the Delicious Chili & Brewfest winners would advance to the World’s Championship in 2014.  Of course those cooks already qualified for the 2013 Championship were very pleased to have a chance to practice.  The cooks list included several former World’s Champions and others who have placed highly in the World over the years.  They were joined by three teams of newer cooks not intimidated by the “old hands”.

This was one of the first events in Southern Californiato include the Homestyle Chili category among the competitions.  Although there were only three entrants, they were very enthusiastic.  The public was also enthusiastic about the new category, which added a different dimension to the event.  We did not hear an official count, but it was obvious that several thousand people attended during the day.  The team that won the People’s Choice contest brought more than 20 gallons of chili and several others brought 10 gallons and more.  It did not go to waste; by about 4:00 pm everyone was out of chili.

It had been hot in Southern California during the week before the cookoff with unusual monsoonal storms creating a humidity to which we are not accustomed.  It cooled a bit for the weekend, but was still pretty uncomfortable for us “desert flowers” during the middle of the day.  A great panel of judges came out to support the cookoff.  Between judgings they lounged in lawn chairs beneath shade trees and enjoyed the light breezes blowing off the bay.  Special thanks to Tim Green and Jim Latendresse who tended to the judging area for all of the contests.  They are the very best at this job.  Scorekeepers were Bonnie Ford, Carol Piri and myself.  Bill Ray performed as Chief Judge with his usual expertise.

Chairmen Arlie Bragg and Josh Kurfirst are already planning for next year’s event.  They promise to make it one of the premiere cookoffs in Southern California.  It will absolutely not conflict with another cookoff.  As soon as a date is selected it will be announced on the ICS website.

A total of $3,400 was shared by the winners.


3rd place          Tish Crawford

2nd place          Eileen Beaty

1st place           Steve Crawford

Homestyle Chili: (NOT A QUALIFIER)

3rd place          Clark McGee

2nd place          Amir Hazrati

1st place           Dean Harvey   Welcome to the West Coast, Dean

Chili Verde:

3rd place          Tish Crawford

2nd place          Clark McGee

1st place           Dick Swenberger

People’s Choice Chili:

Zach Anderson and the “Z Boys”

Traditional Red Chili:

4th place          Sachiko Brecke

3rd place          Chuck Harber

2nd place          Kathy Plager

1st place           Charlie Blosfield

Submitted By Karen Ray       



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