The first fully sanctioned Washington State Chili Cookoff to be held on the North Beach did successfully send several winners on to the World Chili Cookoff later this year in Palm Springs.
But it also featured a simmering controversy when the Health Department, according to some contestants, wouldn’t allow them to sell public tastes in a “People’s Choice” fund-raising category as part of the festivities Saturday at Pacific Beach Elementary School.
“It’s all for charity. We do this for fun and charity,” said Chris Beaver of the Tri-Cities, who took first place in the Chili Verde Category while his wife Lisa took first place for her Red Chili. Together, their “Bizzy Beaver Chili” set up is now headed for Palm Springs to compete at the World event in October.
Since the “People’s Choice” tasting was off, they were encouraging onlookers to contribute anything they could to the charities.
“It’s too bad that so many people showed up but they couldn’t do the People’s Choice. People enjoy it,” Chris said.
Local organizer Cynthia Stearns noted the event, which featured local as well as state and regional entrants, was set up with the Health Department limitations known in advance.
“Leading up to the event it was apparent that People’s Choice would be a question,” she said of regulations for a food-handling permit. “Due to changes May 1, we’d already agreed that the salsa would be for judging. So, several competitors didn’t even bring a People’s Choice chili with them.
“We did have competitors who did choose to enter People’s Choice abiding by Health Department requirements. So, people were able to taste competitive chili. Plus, guest judges received the opportunity to taste all salsas, chili verde and chili red entries.”
“The competitors are correct that if more were able to provide chili to the public, the more donations would have been raised.”
If people wish to contribute, they can still give directly to the charities:
Arthritis Foundation (Washington state)
Meals on Wheels (Grays Harbor/Pacific Counties)
North Beach Kids Summer Lunch Program
Pacific Beach Elementary School Emergency Clothing Fund
Stearns noted “it was because of their support via the Washington State Chili Cookoff that awareness was brought for all four nonprofits and charities.”
Washington State Chili Cookoff did sanction in all 3 categories:
Salsa-1st Place-Ron Bryan, Seattle, WA
2nd Place-Marilee Barrett, Worley, ID
Chili Verde-1st Place-Chris Beaver, West Richland, WA
2nd Place-Frank Volz, Grayland, WA
3rd Place-Bob Wetzel, Manhattan, MT
Chili Red-1st Place-Lisa Beaver, West Richland, WA
2nd Place-Bob Wetzel, Manhattan, MT
3rd Place-Chris Beaver, West Richland, WA
4th Place-Joe Barrett, Worley, ID
5th Place-Darrol Wetzel, Manhattan, MT