Essex Chili Cook-off

March 3, 2024
The Whallonsburg Grange Hall

Shake off the mid-winter blues and celebrate local farmers and good growers! Your ticket includes a chili dinner prepared by Essex Initiatives, a non-alcoholic beverage, live music, and a taste of select chilis!

This event is presented by Essex Initiatives in collaboration with the Whallonsburg Grange Hall. This event is underwritten by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation. Dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park.

When is it?

March 3, 2024 1PM–4PM

Where is it?

The Whallonsburg Grange Hall. Tickets are $10 (kids under ten are FREE!) and may be purchased online here, by check (PO Box 38, Essex, NY 12936) or at the door. Space is limited, so we recommended buying ahead!

Main Attractions

  • Chili Dinner, including a taste of the main competitors
  • Refreshments, including beer and hard cider from Ausable Brewing Co.
  • Live music from Ploughman's Lunch
  • 50/50 Raffle to raise funds for Essex Day entertainment

Contestant FAQs

Who can enter?

Anyone! This competition is for farms, farmers, and individual community members. We encourage you to get into the spirit of the event by using ingredients from our area farms!

How do I register as a contestant?

Please fill out this form.

Do I need to prepare my chili in a commercial kitchen?

All participants are encouraged to cook their chili in a commercial/licensed kitchen. Only chilis prepared in a commercial/licensed kitchen may be tasted by event attendees for the “Crowd Favorite” award category.

If I cook my chili at home, can I still participate?

Yes, but chilis cooked at home cannot be tasted by the public. A panel of judges will taste these chilis and award prizes.

What are the prize categories?

Our judges will award prizes for the following categories: Best Meat Chili, Best Vegetarian Chili, Most Innovative Chili, and Judges' Favorite Chili. All chilis are eligible for these categories!

Attendees will vote for the Crowd Favorite Chili category. Only chilis cooked in a commercial/licensed kitchen are eligible. 

How much chili should I make?

Individuals cooking at home must provide enough chili for 6 judges to taste.

Contestants cooking in a commercial kitchen must provide enough chili for approximately 80-100 event attendees to taste a sample of your chili (we will provide 2oz sample cups & tasting spoons).

Do I need to prepare anything else?

Contestants serving their chili to the public may provide an accompanying bread, cracker, etc. so long as the food is also prepared in accordance with NYS Department of Health guidelines. This is a great chance for farms to highlight other farm products!

Contest Rules

  • All chili must be cooked on the day of the event (Sunday March 3, 2024).
  • Contestants who wish to serve their chili to the public must prepare their chili in a licensed/commercial kitchen and submit a Temporary Food Service Permit Application to the NYS Department of Health.
  • All participants must follow food safety procedures. and review the documents linked here.
  • Commercial kitchen license holders must follow all food safety requirements according to their license.
  • All contestants must label their chili for allergens and display a list of ingredients
  • All chili must be at the Grange by 11:50 am on Sunday, March 3.
  • All contestants must be present to win  - Contest winners will be announced at 3pm.
  • Only chili cooked in a commercial/licensed kitchen may be sampled by the public. Contestants may only provide samples with the cups and spoons provided by Essex Initiatives.  If your chili is not cooked in a commercial/licensed kitchen, it will be judged by a select panel of judges, but not by the public.
Ploughman's Lunch entertains the crowd at the Essex Chili Cook-off.
Photo credit: Dana Cormier
Winner of the Crowd Favorite Chili award, Triple Green Jade Farm!
Photo credit: Sheila Sullivan
Member's of Essex Initiatives celebrating after the Chili Cook-off.
Photo credit: Tom Duca

Photo Credit: Phil Draper
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