The 11th annual Chili Day in Cutler Bay took place on Saturday, Jan. 25, at Cutler Ridge Park. One of the town’s most popular events, this year’s cookoff drew more than 3,000 attendees.
Competing were 26 teams, including four firehouses and three restaurants.
Some of the teams arrived at the park as early as 8 a.m. to begin preparing and cooking.
They were competing for cash prizes and trophies in the following five categories: Chili, Salsa, Cornbread, People’s Choice and Best Decorated Booth. For the People’s Choice categories, event attendees were invited to sample chili and salsa, and then vote for their favorite team via text messaging.
“While the People’s Choice votes were occurring outside, inside the park’s recreation building there was private judging for the other categories,” said Desiree Ducasa, Cutler Bay PIO. “A panel composed of seven judges from various professions and backgrounds scored the samples based on the following criteria: aroma, color, consistency, taste, and aftertaste.”
Mayor Tim Meerbott and Councilmembers BJ Duncan, Michael Callahan and Roger Coriat were in attendance at the event and took to the stage to announce the top finishers, which were as follows:
1st Place: Great Bowls of Fire
2nd Place: Eagle Nation
3rd Place: Traveling Tailgaters
Best Restaurant Chili: Pig Floyd
Best Firehouse Chili: Station 49 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue
1st Place: Cutler Bay’s Station 34 Miami Dade Fire Rescue
2nd Place: Team 305
3rd Place: Comfy Homes
Best Restaurant Salsa: Pig Floyd
1st Place: Flava Unit
2nd Place: Team 305
3rd Place: Cutler Rican Cornbread
Chili: Hialeah Fire Department Local 1102
Chili Runnerup: Hillbilly Chili – Team Pink Pig
Salsa: Comfy Homes
Best Decorated Booth: Miccosukee
Local band Cutler Stew provided the music, powered by Cutler Bay Solar Solutions. In addition to the complimentary tasting of chili, salsa and cornbread, event entertainment and features also included: a bounce house, a corn maze challenge, face painters for kids, a video game bus and balloon twisting. Various food trucks offered other fare for sale.