MDH Note: Since I will be one of the judges, I am looking forward to this event.


Things are heating up this February in Carefree, Arizona! The first annual Carefree Chili Cook-off at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center will be coming to a boil on February 18th, 2012. ThisInternational Chili Society event boasts a juicy chili-purse of $6,000 in total prize money.

Carefree, Arizona, February 12, 2012

Open to the public and fun for the whole family, the 1st Annual Carefree Chili Cook-off is not just a spectator sport. People’s Choice Chili Kits will be available for $10.00. Each kit will have ten 2oz cups that will allow visitors to judge the chef’s People’s Choice Chili Recipes. The festivities and tasting will begin at 9:00am. For those who want a little more than a taste of Chili, breakfast burritos, pastries, and light breakfast fare will be available for purchase from the Resort. Starting at noon the Resort will have three types of chili, hot dogs and other taste tempting treats available. The bar opens at 10:00am. The afternoon will be filled with the sounds of AriZona, a Country music favorite in the valley. The cook-off will be held in the north parking lot adjacent to the Carefree Opera House. In case of inclement weather the event will be moved inside.



The Carefree Chili Cook-off is an ICS (International Chili Society) sanctioned event. Participants will be judged in three categories – Red Chili, Chili Verde and Salsa. Approximately 60 different judges will be comparing the entrees on five different characteristics – the first and most important being TASTE. The taste should reflect a good balance of the meat, peppers, spices, etc., with no particular ingredient being dominant. The chili must also have a good CONSISTENCY, the ratio between sauce and meat. It should not be dry, watery, grainy, lumpy, or greasy. The chili should have a good AROMA and good COLOR (Reddish brown is generally accepted as good. Chili is not yellow or green.) Last but not least the judges will be looking at the chili’s BITE. The Bite, or aftertaste, is the heat created by the various type of chili peppers and chili spices.


The prize purse for the Carefree Chili Cook-off is a hot one with a first place cash award of $2,500 to the best Red Chili, $500 to the champion Chili Verde and $250 to the Cook-off’s best Salsa. The winners will also qualify to compete in the Last Chance Cook-off at the ICS World’s Championship Chili Cook-off held in Charleston, WV – October 5-7, 2012.


The event is expected to draw 25 to 35 chili chefs from around the southwest. Carefree Mayor David Schwan will be joined by a slate of area celebrities as well Carefree and Cave Creek dignitaries as judges.


The Staff and management of the Carefree Resort & Conference Center are no strangers to the combination of good times and great chili. Bridlie Hospitality, the management company that runs theCarefree Resort, have been involved in the judging and revelry at the Grand-daddy of all chili cook-offs in Terlingua, Texas. “There is something special when you get a fun-loving group of chili lovers together,” said Larry Goldenthal, Vice President and General Counsel for Bridlie Hospitality. “People just have a great time tasting chili, telling stories and making memories. It’s great for our guests, our city and chili lovers everywhere!” Edwin Leslie, CEO of Bridlie Hospitality agrees, “Many of us have been involved in chili cook-offs for years. We have seen firsthand what they can do for a local economy. I am confident that the Carefree Chili Cook-off will be an event that everybody in the Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Carefree communities will look forward to every year.”


The Chili Cook-off caps off an All-Star weekend at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center. The weekend begins with a special acoustic concert starring LeAnn Rimes in the historic Carefree Opera House. LeAnn Rimes and Chili Cook-off play and stay room packages are available.


After the competition of a multi-million dollar renovation, Carefree Resort & Conference Center is a leader in conference services in the Scottsdale, Arizona market and a member of the prestigious collection of DMI Hotels. With over 250 guest rooms, Villas and 50,000+ square feet of meeting and convention space, the Resort can handle groups from 10 to 1,500.

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Edwin Leslie

Bridlie Hospitality
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