The Town of Cutler Bay’s 10th annual Chili Day Cook-Off took place on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Cutler Ridge Park.
Always a popular event it is estimated that this year’s cook-off, drew more than 3,000 residents and neighbors, the most ever attending.
This year, 24 teams, including three firehouse teams, competed for the honor of making the best chili, salsa and cornbread.
Competitors began arriving at 8 a.m. Saturday morning to start the preparation process and to do the cooking. At stake were both cash prizes and trophies in five categories: Chili, Salsa, Cornbread, People’s Choice and Best Decorated Booth. For the two People’s Choice categories, event attendees were invited to sample chili and salsa and vote for their favorite team by dropping a token in their bucket.
Cutler Bay Mayor Tim Meerbott was pleased by the success of the yearly event.
“This is the 10th year that the town has been hosting and organizing Chili Day, which has become a signature town event our residents and neighbors — along with their dogs — look forward to attending,” said Mayor Meerbott. “This event highlights the sense of family and community our town has, which is one of the many reasons Cutler Bay is an excellent place to live.”
Also in attendance was Vice Mayor Sue Ellen Loyzelle, who greeted and mingled with residents and friends. State Rep. Kionne L. McGhee stepped on stage to greet the crowd.
The People’s Choice votes were cast outside by residents and others, while in the recreation building the private judging took place. Five judges scored each sample based on the following criteria: aroma, color, consistency, taste and aftertaste.
Once the judging was completed and votes tallied, the competition’s winners were announced on stage by Mayor Meerbott and Councilmember BJ Duncan. They presented each winner with their trophy and posed for photos.
The winners for each category are as follows:
1st Place – Sunseekers.
2nd Place – Dino’s Chili & Dora’s Salsa.
3rd Place – Comfy Homes.
1st Place – Pig Floyd BBQ.
2nd Place – Team 305.
3rd Place – there was a tie between The Smoking Pig and Sander Hann.
1st Place – Team 305.
2nd Place – Cutler Ricken Cornbread.
3rd Place – Jive Turkey.
Chili Fire Department: DCFBA.
Best Decorated Booth: Comfy Homes.
People’s Choice Chili: The 3 Jerks.
People’s Choice Salsa: Ridge Rats 34 (MDFR Station 34).
Besides the complimentary tasting of chili, salsa and cornbread, event entertainment and features included a bounce house, corn maze challenge, face painters for kids, a video game bus, balloon twisting and various food trucks. Cutler Bay’s local band “Cutler Stew” supplied the music, the equipment powered by Cutler Bay Solar Solutions.
Officials thanked the event’s sponsors: Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay, Southland Mall and TD Bank.
It is likely the event will return next year.