Winning the annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-Off comes with something more valuable than a prize – bragging rights for prevailing at one of the oldest and largest such events in the nation.
“There’s hollering and screaming, ‘My chili is better than yours,’ and just friendly competition,” said Ed Jerome, past president of the Tiferet Israel Congregation.
The congregation, along with the Jewish Community Center, will host the 26th annual event on March 31.
From small beginnings, the cook-off has grown to attract more than 40 competing teams and an anticipated crowd of 3,000 people.
“It is always exciting to see this number of teams, and it is wonderful how many have been competing for over 20 years and running,” said Shirley Rovinsky, 2019 cook-off co-chair. “We must be doing something right to get groups from all over North Texas.”
There are three winners for the beef category and one winner for the veggie category. There is also a People’s Choice category where attendees can vote for their favorite chili.
Because it is a kosher contest, teams only use ingredients (meats, spices, and vegetables) that have been prepared following Jewish dietary laws and cooking is supervised by specially trained rabbis. No dairy products are allowed.
The cook-off will also feature live music with three bands performing: Side Gig, Windy City, and Mazik Experience. Mazik Experience, formerly known as Mazik Bros., has played the event for 14 years and become known as “The Sounds of the Chili Cook-Off.”
Through the years the cook-off has made donations to 56 nonprofit organizations. This year beneficiaries: the PJ Library, the Kol Rina men’s acapella group at Congregation Anshai Torah, and the Dallas Jewish Historical Society’s Jim Schwartz Speaker Series.
Schwartz, co-founder of the Mazik Bros., died last year, explained Rusty Cooper, who co-founded the band with him. “The Mazik Bros. Band played over 200 performances with Jim, and some of our most favorite and most fulfilling events were the 14 Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-offs.”
IF YOU GO:
What: Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-Off draws more than 40 teams and includes family activities and entertainment including music, rides, games, and various vendors.
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 31
Where: Tiferet Israel Congregation, 10909 Hillcrest Road
Admission: $12 for adults; $6 for children ages 4 to 10 includes a free hot dog; children 3 and younger
Parking: Available free at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Road, with a climate-controlled bus to the cook-off site.