The rivalry is real. The competition heated. Teams may dress as cowboys, some wear funny hats, and some have wacky names, but the competition is serious business as the region’s best chili-heads take to the bridges to battle the top cooks of New York at the ninth annual NYC Chili Cookoff at Historic Richmond Town. 

newsroom chiliWhen: Saturday April 21, 2018. 12:00 noon to 4:00pm. Rain or shine.
Where: Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island NY 10306.
Tickets: Advance Tickets: $15, $8 Children 8 and under. At-the-door tickets $18, $10 children 8 and under.

The battle unfolds Saturday April 21 at 12 noon with the 2017 first place People’s Choice winner, Smokey Joes (Captain Anthony Cucurullo), and the first-place salsa AND green chili winner, Davey's Spice Rack (Captain David Ronge), returning to defend their crowns. Event Cochairs are Gale Cirigliano and Cathy Coghlan.

Chiliheads are quick to say that chili is a cuisine of the people. And the judging reflects that philosophy. The International Chili Society (ICS) recommends skipping professional judges and stacking the judges’ table with community members who appreciate good food. As the one and only cookoff in New York City that’s sanctioned by the International Chili Society, the competition and the judging can be hotter than the spices.

Judges include: Bobby Digi, Island Voice; Al Curtis, Board of RCSF; Charles Fall, NYC Parks; Helen Gambardella, HRT Women's Auxiliary; Eric E. Garvin, JD, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Marie and Bill LaCurtis, NYC Parks;  Kenny Pragl, NYC Parks; Sherwin and Joyce Suss, SI Chamber; Dianne Schrippa, YMCA; Steven and Lana Seidman, HIC of SI; and Elizabeth Slayback, former winner and judge for SI Advance Cookbook.

Chief judges Cindy and Dave Lorenz are assigned to the event by the ICS. The chief judges facilitate the judging, keeping things  focused and fair, guiding the team in the best methods to use for tasting and to scoring.

The judging is serious business with a top cash prize of $1000 and the chance to earn the coveted title of People’s Choice Champion or go straight to the World Championships.

There are four categories to be judged: Traditional Red Chili, Chili Verde (green chili), Salsa and People’s Choice. Patrons of the cookoff often determine a different winner than the judges, proving that chili, like beauty, is in the eyes (and taste buds) of the beholder. Although chili is known for its spice, heat does not make a good chili. If it’s too hot, the complexity of flavors can be lost. Competitors and Judges have their work cut out for them.

While the competitors sweat it out over their hot pots and guard their secret ingredients, guests relax, visit historic homes, taste chili, enjoy music, and visit with the Artisans of the Historic Trades.

Guests get in on the action with a Hot Wings Eating Contest at 3:00pm, sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings.

Free antacids are always available at the Information Booth.

Founded in 1967, the International Chili Society is an organization that sanctions nearly 200 chili cookoffs each year that are governed by ICS rules and regulations and a blind judging process.

These events are worldwide and benefit charities or non-profit organizations. Local winners of ICS sanctioned cookoffs qualify to compete for cash prizes and awards throughout the year. Top-level winners compete for a total prize package of $55,000 at the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff held each year in October.

One million spectators a year participate in ICS events by cooking, tasting, judging and having a good time.

For more information, visit



Yankee Peddler Day, Sunday May 6, 2018 - For the American Picker in all of us, visit one of the area’s best day markets with a wide range of vendors. Whether you are a serious collector, just getting your feet wet in being thrifty, or are simply browsing - this is the place for you. Who knows, maybe you will find a hidden piece of Americana. $3 admission, kids are free!

Uncorked! Saturday, June 2, 2018 - This family friendly day celebrates 10 years as one of the region’s premier food and wine festivals. Many of the Island’s most popular and returning restaurants nestle between landmark homes, sampling up a delightful course for visitors. Go to food demonstrations, wine school, and other kitchen courses!