Although the weather was a bit on the warm side on Jan. 27, it was a “Chili Day” in Cutler Bay as the town celebrated the ninth edition of its popular cooking competition event.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the cook-off at Cutler Ridge Park, sampling the food prepared by competitors and enjoying the music and community camaraderie.
Maria Blaylock, acting special events coordinator for the town’s Department of Parks & Recreation, was pleased with how it all turned out.
The event was a great success,” Blaylock said. “We had 20 competitors and four firehouses participating.”
The chefs competed for trophies and prize money in six categories: Salsa, Cornbread, Chili, People’s Choice Chili, People’s Choice Salsa and Best Decorated Booth.
The contest judges selected the following top finishers:
Chili: first place, Bucky’s Sweet Heat; second place, Just Chillin, and third Place, Center State Bank.
Salsa: first place, Pig Floyd; second place, Miami Dade Fire Station No. 34, and third place, Team 305.
Cornbread: first place, Cutler Ricken Cornbread; second place, Team 305, and third place, Snuff the Rooster.
Chili Fire Department: Hialeah Fire Department.
Attendees who sampled everything also were judging for the event and texted their votes in to be tallied. Their picks were as follows:
People’s Choice Chili: 3 Jerks.
People’s Choice Salsa: Miami Dade Fire Station No. 34.
Best Decorated Booth: Junk in the Trunk.
Adding to the fun, the town provided aprons for all the chefs, there was a video game bus, bounce houses, face painters, and the Miami Balloon Guy. The popular local band “Cutler Stew” provided rock and roll music using solar power thanks to Cutler Bay Solar Solutions.
The event sponsors this year were Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay, TD Bank, Florida City Gas, and the Miami Events Group.
Vendors also included Everglades Hot Sauce Co, Girl Scouts, Cutler Bay Community Garden, Air on Demand, Pinder Picks, Miami Dade Animal Services, New Leaf Chiropractic, MD Now, Flips Kettle Corn, Pig Floyd, Fish Shape Towels, Ellie Mills, Rubenstein Family Chiropractic, Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, Miami South BMX, Mrs. J Homemade Cookies & More, Native Conch, Gringa Flan, and The Ginger Bread House.
Mayor Peggy R. Bell was pleased with the popular annual happening in the park.
“Chili Day is our town’s first event of the year, and it always draws a big crowd,” Mayor Bell said. “It gives me great joy to see families and friends enjoying each other’s company. We laugh, dance and, most importantly, eat! The Parks and Recreation Department has done a great job coordinating this wonderful event.”