Local News
What Jew Wanna Eat: The 8th Annual Kosher Chili Cook-off Returns February 10th
Tuesday, 01 January 2013
By Amy Kritzer

ImageHundreds of hungry chili lovers will gather at the JCC for the 8th Annual Kosher Chili Cook-off on February 10th. Modeled after a similar event in Dallas, the family-friendly event raises money for Congregation Agudas Achim and also acts as a morning (or afternoon) after get together for the YAD Milestone Gala. The cook-off will feature both vegetarian and beef options, to satisfy chili connoisseurs of different dietary needs. There will also be an arts and crafts fair, music and other food, so be prepared to make a day out of it. 2013 chairman Jerrod Kogut has two objectives for the day: “The first goal is to raise money, and the second goal is to bring the community together to have some great kosher chili!”

Anyone who deems their recipe worthy can enter in a four-person team and battle it out for chili glory. In the past, restaurants and foodies of all ages have participated. Upon arrival at sunrise (okay, 8:00 a.m.), each team will receive 20 pounds of beef (except the vegetarians of course) and the kitchen utensils needed to feed a few hundred community members. Teams can bring in the spices, vegetables, beans and sauces they desire, but everything must be in the original packaging, not pre-chopped and certified kosher. Rabbi Neil Blumofe will be onsite to inspect the items.

At noon on the dot, chili service will commence and participants as well as official judges will have the opportunity to test out samples and vote on their favorites. Judging will be based on aroma, consistency, color, taste and aftertaste.  Winners will be named in the categories of most spirited, meat, vegetarian, overall judge’s choice and people’s choice. They will be awarded trophies in addition to the coveted eternal chili glory. Another award will be given for the best decorated chili booth, so décor and costumes are encouraged.

Kogut’s grandfather started the event in Austin, and it has grown every year from there. In 2010, CNN even featured the event on their Building Up America series as an example of how Austin residents gather together during the recession. Past Chairman David Herzog says the event, which brings the community together to have fun and eat chili all for a good cause, is quintessentially “Jewish Texas”.

Amy Kritzer is the new food columnist for The Jewish Outlook.  She runs the blog What Jew Wanna Eat, and is teaching a class at this year’s Tapestry of Jewish Learning.

Entry fees are $250, which includes meat and access to kitchen utensils ($125 for a vegetarian team). Admission will be $12 for adults, $10 for students under 21 and free for children under 4 or seniors over 65. For more information on entering or sponsoring, see their website,, or contact Jerrod Kogut at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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