Chil Out: The Chili Cook-off 2012
Charity is a beautiful thing, bringing us all together to help those less fortunate. Yet strangely, charity events also tend to involve some form of conflict or competition, because everyone knows there’s nothing quite like offering assistance with one hand while shoving a rival’s head down the (hopefully metaphorical) toilet with the other.
The Lupe Pintos Charity Chili cook-off provides the charity/ competition mix, but us civilians are spectators to, and judges of, the carnage. Here’s the mechanic: get your ticket, cut between the various competitors tasting their chilis, then hand in your scorecard at the end. No fun-running, no pan-handling, and a guilt-free opportunity to wear a false moustache. All the sombrero-wearing, chili-tasting joy without any of the cooking, and you get to act as a scornful judge. AND it counts as a good deed. It’s a win-win-win-win.
The cook-off is coming to Glasgow and Edinburgh on consecutive weekends this month in aid of Cash for Kids. In keeping with the Mexican theme, we thought we would grab the organisers and some of the participants and get them to give their best wrestling-style hype speeches. After all, while this is all in aid of a good cause, someone’s got to win, so let battle commence.
"The first charity cook-off took place in Glasgow last year. Frustrated by the public’s ‘off the beaten track’ attitude to neighbourhood business we decided to draw attention to neighbourhood restaurants, bars and cafes as well as our own shop by hosting the Great Western Chili cook-off.
"Basically we challenged ten venues surrounding our shop to come up with the best version of CHILI CON CARNE. [Ed: their caps folks, not ours] All the bars donated the chili, 500 tickets were sold, ticket holders ate and judged chili, purchased beer from the bars and had a great day out. Everyone got some well deserved publicity, and Cash For Kids received a fantastic donation. In short it worked on all levels."
GOLF TAVERN, EDINBURGH
"We’re taking part in the chili cook-off primarily to help raise money for a great cause – Cash For Kids, and also because we all enjoy a bit of friendly rivalry!
"It should be a really fun event to bring a bit of Latin spirit to Bruntsfield, and we will be having a real Mexican Fiesta! And we are definitely going to win because our new executive chef is well known as the chili king of Aberdeen, so will be coming south to wipe the floor with these Edinburgh gringos!"
"Stravaigin has been interested in matching authentic food from around the world with local produce for over 20 years. The cook-off is a great opportunity for not just Stravaigin, but the other restaurants in the West End, to showcase their interpretation of a Mexican classic!
"It was wonderful to see last year that the interpretations were worlds apart, but pulled the whole community together for a day of foodie fun, while raising money for a local charity. We can't wait to see what the competition has install for us this year!"
THE LANSDOWNE BAR, GLASGOW
"The biggest and the best venue to hit for the chili cook off, we will be going all out in this year's competition... frozen margheritas, piñatas, tequila & of course the best chili on Great Western Road! So join us for the best party around & discover why this wee area is the new coolest & friendliest area in the west of Glasgow!"
THE LEFT BANK, GLASGOW
"The Left Bank didn’t need to be convinced when Lupe Pintos came round offering a place in their annual culinary showdown. We love being involved in our community and who doesn't enjoy a bit of healthy competition?
"It’s a great opportunity to wear sombreros and moustaches, get our cooking pistols out, and show off our gastronomic guns. A friendly chili crawl bursting with bandits drinking tequila at the bar and enjoying the best this pueblo has to offer.
"It’s going to be 'La Gran Batalla! del Fuego del Diablo!' Be prepared West Enders.