Chili Cook-Offs

Cookoff for 2020 –scheduled for May 2, 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic…..Watch for the date for 2021’s Cookoff!

2019 Chili Cook-Off

Soroptimist International of Calaveras County (SICC) held their 9th Annual event in the lawn area of Murphys Historic Hotel on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Focusing on the Kentucky Derby theme, “Derby de Mayo” was a hit for cookers as well as tasters. You could see beautiful, outlandishly decorated derby bonnets everywhere you looked! Co-chairs President, Patsy Gonzalez and Carol Jones-Giannini did a fantastic job of getting everything organized and running smoothly.

Great weather was the bonus of the day as Chili Cooking teams set up early Saturday morning. Four teams returned to compete for the coveted 1st Place People’s Choice Award: “Sweet and Spicy Chili Peppers”, “Grandma & her Girls”, “Columbia Culinary” and “Murphys Hotel.” First time competitors were: “Starbaby Burner”, “Auten Family Cookers” and “Chef Char & the Wild Turkeys.”

A panel of three local judges: Jenny Baxter, Sally Hughes and Celeste Luster, sampled chili from each of the teams. Best Judged Chili was awarded to: Columbia Culinary!   People’s Choice Chili: 1st place: Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers, 2nd place: Murphys Hotel and 3rd place: Starbaby Burner. Best Theme/Décor winners were: 1st place: Grandma & her Girls, 2nd place: Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers, and 3rd place: Auten Family Cookers. Congratulations and thanks to you all.

A beautiful day, happy cookers/ tasters was a great recipe. Live music was provided by Plan B & the dancers were on their feet! What lively music they provided! And, besides Chili Tasting, there were 2 super-sized raffle baskets for attendees to take chances on.  The wine basket was “overflowing” with local wines – valued at $300. The 2nd basket was a HUGE Tregar BBQ complete with sauces, mixes, tools and everything one could possibly want or need for their next BBQ party – valued at $650! Unfortunately the winners were not present when the tickets were drawn, so had to be contacted by telephone to pick up their wonderful prizes.

A special thank you recognizes and salutes the loyal sponsors who faithfully support SICC’s mission by providing sponsorship funds to offset the expenses of this event. The beautiful venue at the Murphys Hotel tops the list –without that, this event would not be possible. Our sponsors include: Dignity Health Mark Twain Hospital, Save Mart, Sabrina Julian Investment Services, Angels Sheet Metal, Sew & Tell, David Dolin Roofing, Mike & Julie Cantrell, Mar-Val Stores, & Senders Market. A very sincere thank you to each of you.

Our 2020 Chili Cookoff will be held on the first Saturday in May – to celebrate Cinco-de-Mayo.

Mark your calendars! (click on the link below to see the slideshow)

2018 Chili Cookoff

The 8th Annual Soroptimist International of Calaveras County’s Chili Cookoff was held on the lawn area at Murphy’s Historic Hotel on Saturday, May 5, 2018. With the perky theme, “Twisted, Silly or Gourmet Chili”, entrants were challenged to make their tables a little out of the ordinary.

Returning cookers were: “Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers,” “Creative Catering,” “Murphys Hotel,” and “Peckerwoods Farm.” Welcome to first-time participants: “The Columbia College Culinary Team”, “Granny Mary’s Chuckwagon Chili”, “Oma Bev’s Twisted Chicken Chili”, “The Red Apple” and “The Red Apple Goes Green”. What a treat to have new, enthusiastic teams join us!

Two overflowing raffle baskets were won by: The barbeque one went to Pandora Armbruster (of the Peckerwoods Farm team) and the wine one to Cindy Burns, a former Soroptimist member. Thank you to all attendees who purchased raffle tickets and the donors of fabulous merchandise.

A panel of 3 esteemed judges determined the Best Judged Chili. Those judges were: Jenny Baxter, Dave McElhinnie and Dave Arrich. “Best Judged Chili” 1st place: “Columbia Culinary Team”, 2nd place: “The Red Apple”, 3rd place: “Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers”. Those guests tasting chili chose their favorite chili. “People’s Choice Chili” 1st place: “The Red Apple Goes Green”, 2nd place: “Columbia Culinary Team”, 3rd place: “Oma Bev’s Twisted Chicken Chili.” Trophies recognized these accomplishments. Soroptimist members chose the Best Theme/Décor and Best Costume winners. “Best Theme/ Décor” was awarded to “Granny Mary’s Chuckwagon Chili” and “Best Costume” was won by “Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers”.

None of this would be possible without the support of our local, loyal sponsors. Murphys Hotel tops the list with the donation of their beautiful venue. Dignity Health has sponsored this event for the past 8 years! Save Mart, Sabrina Julian, Angels Sheet Metal, Farmers Insurance Agent, Pat Plaster, and Cal Waste were all financial donors. We sincerely thank each and every one of you.

A dessert table – selling home-made cookies – was added this year & was met with a great deal of enthusiasm. Plan B (once again) entertained the attendees and provided upbeat danceable music for all to enjoy.

The slideshow below captures the feel of the day, Soroptimist members worked tirelessly to host this day of fun and chili tasting. Thank you one and all!Our 2019 event will be held the first Saturday in May —mark your calendars!




2017 7th Annual Chili Cookoff by Soroptimist International of Calaveras County

The morning of Saturday, May 6th, 2017, dawned a little overcast with no chance of rain. Under the tent at Murphys Historic Hotel lawn area, ten enthusiastic chili cookers gathered. You could smell onions & garlic cooking, hear roasters, coleman stoves & propane pots being assembled and readied for the day.

Reporting in were: Uncle Bob – a long-time attendee, “Biker Babes”, Creative Catering, “Fiesta Time Cookers”, West Calaveras Rotary Club, “Grandma and The Girls”, “Trophy Chili”, “Peckerwood Farm”, Cal Fire’s “Hot Snake Chili” and The Murphys Hotel team.

Filled-to-the-brim raffle baskets with a BBQ and a wine theme were available. Lucky winner of the BBQ basket was Dr. John Richardson, husband of contestant, Terry, of Creative Catering. The wine basket winner, from Forest Meadows, was not present, but picked up her basket later. Congratulations to the winners & thanks to those who purchased tickets!

This event would not be possible without the support and donations from our loyal sponsors: Dignity Health for the 7th year! Save Mart Supermarkets provided free water and cornbread as well as a raffle for Save Mart gift cards. The Out House Collection and Arnold ACE Hardware, again, supplied merchandise for the baskets. Needle in Time provided aprons & merchandise. AND, Murphys Historic Hotel continues to provide the venue and so, so much more to the Soroptimists. Thank you Brian, Kevin and Joel for your continued support. Salute to each of these donors and vendors!

Plan B played their unique style of music which guests love to dance to. Thank you!

Popular choice selected the winners in the Best Chili and Best Theme 1st, 2nd and 3rd categories.

2016 Soroptimist International of Calaveras County’s 6th Annual Chili Cookoff 

was held on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at Murphy’s Historic Hotel

 Drizzly rain and overcast skies greeted the Chili Cookers on Saturday morning. Most brought pop-ups to protect their tables from the weather. Ten cookers, with great attitudes and even more delicious chili, checked in. They were: “Aloha Chili”, “Sweet & Spicy Chili Peppers”, “Uncle Bob’s Chili”, Chamber of Commerce’s “Grandma’s Chili”, “Revenge of the Nerds” the Murphys Hotel offering, “2 Chix”, “Stacy’s Slap You Silly Chili”, “Creative Catering”, “Maurauders Chili” and “Two Queens and One Joker.”

Our ever loyal sponsors and supporters were with us again: Dignity Health –our sponsor for the 6th year! Save Mart provided bottled water and held a drawing for cash merchandise cards. The Out House Collection and Arnold ACE Hardware generously donated to our raffle baskets once again. Needles In Motion provided raffle merchandise. Trophy Works, owned by AD & Adela Hawkins, donated trophys & merchandise for additional prizes for the winners. And, last but not least, the Murphys Hotel –always there for Soroptimists! A perfect venue for a great event! Soroptimist International of Calaveras County salutes each of these donors and gives our sincere thanks!

Chili tasters and attendees took chances on the two overflowing raffle baskets being offered. Larry Cornish won the Wine themed basket and the Picnic/BBQ basket was won by Trevor (didn’t get his last name). Congrats to each of you!

Co-chairs for the event were Beverly Stewart and Carol Jones-Giannini, with much support from the entire Soroptimist Club’s members. What a team!

Plan B kept people dancing with their lively tunes & great music. 

Popular choice determined the winners of the Best Chili Category and the Best Theme Category. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies and merchandise was presented.

Click on the links below to view the grand happenings of the past Chili Cook-offs!

2015 Chili Cook off pictures

2014 Chili Cook off pictures

2013 Chili Cook off pictures

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