Stock up on kidney beans, tomato sauce and hot peppers—the East Falls Community Council (EFCC) Chili Cook-Off is almost here.
“We’re looking for both amateurs and professionals,” said organizer Roger Marsh, second Vice President of the EFCC. “Most of the entries are from East Falls but anyone is welcome. We have entries from people in the neighborhood and also from some of the restaurants in the area.”
Last year 19 entrants in both the professional and amateur classes competed for the votes of about 150 hungry attendees, and Marsh estimates that this year’s Apr. 8 competition will bring out a similar sized crowd.
“We give out awards in both the professional and amateur divisions,” said Marsh. “But also, everyone who attends votes on their favorite chili and we give the one with the most votes the People’s Choice Award.”
This year, the official judging for “Best Chili Con Carne,” “Best Vegetarian Chili” and “Best Side Dish” will be handled by three local clergy members—Jimmy Lee Stratton of Bethel Presbyterian Church, Sister Pat Egan of St. Bridget Church, and Rev. Bob Smith of the Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd.
Hopeful chili-champs need to prepare a minimum of 5 pounds, or about 2.5 quarts, of the spicy dish, as well as an appropriate side dish. The entry application is officially due on Mar. 31, but Marsh said he will accept applications until Apr. 3.
“You get to eat chili and talk to old friends,” said Marsh. “It’s a mixture of families, residents and students from PhilaU. It’s really a cross-section of the neighborhood—that’s really why I like it. You get to meet everyone there.”
The Chili Cook-Off is on Friday, Apr. 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Sherman Hall on 3544 Indian Queen Lane, next to Old Academy Players. Admission is $15 per person and $25 per couple. Children under 12 get in for free.