Heat and Sweet — 2013 SF Bay Chili Cook-off Champions

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We had an ethereal mix of sugar & spice Saturday as 27 teams put their flavor on the line at the SF Bay Chili Cook-off.  Check out the tastiest as voted by our judges and by you, the discerning public:

Grand Champion Chili, People’s Choice:  Team #15, Raise the Root

Runner-up Grand Champion Chili, People’s Choice:   Team #13, Wine with Swine

My Sweet Tooth Savior, People’s Choice:  Team #14, Maple Creme Caramel with Pig Candy, Bad S BBQ

Runner-up My Sweet Tooth Savior, People’s Choice:  Team #20, Chipotle Chocolate Pudding, Bump City Bakery

Chili Most Likely to Have Consequences, People’s Choice:  Team #7, Naga Con Carne

Best Texas Style Chili, Judges’ Choice:   Team #13, Wine with Swine

Most Creative Chili, Judges’ Choice:    Team #7, Naga Con Carne

Sweet Tooth Savior, Judges’ Choice:   Team #14, Maple Creme Caramel with Pig Candy, Bad S BBQ

Thanks to everyone who participated!   It was a perfect day.   See you next year!


And you shall be judged…


Check out the intensity of our judging panel at Classic Cars West.  We were honored to have such a distinguished panel.

Melanie Wong, Chowhound and Prolific Eater

A fifth-generation Alta Californian, Melanie was born in Salinas, she speaks menu Spanglish fluently and chronicles her eating adventures and pursuit of deliciousness on Chowhound.com.  On the eternal question of “red or green”, she serves up her own fantastic version of Hatch chile verde. But she never turns down a great bowl of red.  In 2011, she made the pilgrimage to Chugwater, Wyoming to taste the eponymous chili and along the way cracked the secrets of the rare white chili.  When she’s not chowing on chili-licious cuisine, she’s on the hunt for Hmong sausages, grand cru Burgundy, great cannoli, and more joints to add to her lifetime list of 90+ ramen houses.

Melanie is a Master Certified Judge in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  She is also in demand to judge wine, chocolate, salsa, and other artisan food competitions. Melanie earned her degree in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and Master of Public Health and MBA from UCLA.  She serves as Co-chair of the Central Coast Food Policy Council and advocates for food system change for all Californians.

Carlo of Savor Oakland Food Tours

Savor Oakland Food Tours- Oakland’s #1 Tour/Activity. Owners Carlo+Geneva started the company last year after a 6month trip to Central+South America. Their food tours give a snapshot of Oakland food, culture, and history.  Their Jack London Square Food Tour is the #1 Tour/Activity in Oakland and they are setting up their next food tour in Old Oakland/Chinatown. They will be featured next month on the Cooking Channel and on Southwest Airline’s Spirit Magazine. TIckets are available at www.savoroakland.com. They will also be selling gift certificates today. (A perfect Mother’s Day, Bday, gift!!). Join the tours and Savor A Taste Of Oakland Soul!

Steve Mills, Co-Owner of Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café & Owner of Mills General

Steve is the man behind the making the restaurants we love look amazing.  He has been a prominent participant in the creation of numerous businesses like Bay Area restaurants and businesses include Andalu, Bocadillos, Gitane, Wood Tavern, the June Taylor Still Room, Tokyo Fish Market, and Good Vibrations.

Focusing on his first loves; good food and punk rock, Steve co-founded Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe with some of his more famous friends. The first Rudy’s location opened in 2002 in Emeryville. The second Rudy’s opened in 2011 in the historic Fox Theatre in the Uptown arts and entertainment district of Oakland.

Steve’s best Chili memory is definitely captured within the moment of his highest Chili pride: when former Oakland Raider great Ken “the Snake” Stabler bit into his Chili Burger for an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” filmed at the Oakland Coliseum after he spent his entire afternoon stirring that Chili pot out there in the Coliseum parking lot.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of Guns n Roses

Bumblefoot began playing music at age 7 and hasn’t stopped.  Lead guitarist of Guns n Roses since 2006, he has toured in over 50 countries in front of crowds as large as 150,000 (a few orders of magnitude different than today)  He also has collaborates with a wide range of artists/producers like  rapper Scarface, Jessica Simpson, and on video games & show theme songs.

He recently launched the award winning Bumblefoot hot sauce which will be featured in an upcoming Ike’s Place sandwich which was previewed at the Cook-off.

Bumblefoot is continuously donating songs and performances to fundraising CDs, often making appearances and donating autographed items for charities. He often performs at events for medical research, disaster relief, and children’s health issues, visiting patients at children’s hospitals all over the world with guitar in hand.

Competitor Profile: The Soup Fairy


The Soup Fairy is delivering her special brand of Mole Verde White Bean, Chicken Chili to the SF Bay Chili Cook-off.  If you think Fairies aren’t tough, then you need to take a second look.  Cuz, this Fairy is SERIOUS about developing some deep flavor!  It’s definitely worth checking out her chili preparation on her Facebook page.

Not only tough…she has tremendous heart.  She delivers soup weekly to survivors of abuse at the Oakland Family Justice Center as well as an Oakland Charter School.   And… she’s trying to take care of you too with her delicious 150-calorie “bikini” soups that will get you ready for summer.  Of course, who saw this weather coming? Looks like you should have started getting ready  for the Bay Area bikini season in February.

No use fretting over what should have been, just be sure to check out the Soup Fairy this weekend.

Good luck, Soup Fairy!

Request your personal delivery on her website.

Competitor Profile: Rocko’s Chocolate Tacos


When your taste buds are crying for a break, indulge in the cool relief of a Rocko’s Chocolate Taco.  These waffle cone taco shells are filled with hand crafted ice cream and topped with a hardened chocolate shell. They use organic and locally sourced ingredients to focus on what is healthiest for us and our community (whole, natural ingredients sourced from local farmers and producers.)   We can’t wait to see what flavors they bring for us!

Good luck, Rocko!

You can keep up with them through what is promising to be a very ice cream worthy summer on Facebook.

Competitor Profile: A.D.D. Alternative Delectable Delights


A.D.D. Alternative Delectable Delights is bringing their artisan crafted Chai Chili Chocolate to the SF Bay Chili Cook-off!  Free of refined sugars and gluten, this is a chocolate without the guilt.   Xandrea,  a health coach, recognizes that life is not about abstaining from sweets its about finding ingredients that nourish as well as satisfy.    Her chocolates contain a unique Chai tea blend from Sip To Live which is then amplified by chili flakes to give you a chocolate sensation you’ve never tried before.   No doubt, you’ll feel like you’re being naughty.

Good luck, Xandrea!

This is only one of a multitude of flavors A.D.D. makes.  Keep up with their new products on Facebook.

Competitor Profile: Evil Jerk Cart


Can you hear the steel drums?!   That’s the Evil Jerk Cart making her way to the SF Bay Chili Cook-off.   Lisette Titre has been bringing her authentic Caribbean street food to many well-known Bay Area festivals including Eat Real Fest, Oakland’s Art Murmur, and @ForageSF’s Underground Market (RIP).  She is famous for her Evil Jerk Chicken prepared with Scotch Bonnet peppers but also makes delicious versions of the vegan Rastafarian Irie Ital Stew and Coconut Beans and Rice — all of which sound like they could provide amazing inspiration for her competition chili.

We are so excited to have this SF Weekly Best Street Food Cart as part of the competition.

Good luck, Lisette!

You can catch her at the upcoming Jamaican Jerk Cook-off at Linden Street or wherever Evil Jerk Cart will turn up bext by liking her on Facebook.

Competitor Profile: Wine with Swine


For those who are craving the traditional rusty red, we’ve got you covered!   The Wine with Swine competition team are bringing the heat.  These guys have been competing all over Northern California for the last four years and win often.  They qualified for California State Championship last year in Santa Cruz and are looking to go to the World Championships of Food.   Based out of San Jose, they cite Oakland’s Eat Real Fest as one of the most fun events in which they participated when they placed 4th in the BBQ competition at Meatopia last year.

The best part about this team of manly carnivores is that they focus their competition efforts on cook-offs that benefit children to ensure that every child has a chance to grow up happy and healthy.  Our support of Adopt a Special Kid is right up their alley!

Best of luck, Wine with Swine!

Check out their 2013 schedule to catch them at one of their 10+ events this year.