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Local U.S. Army recruiter looking for local chefs for chili cookoff competition 

Sergeant First Class Shelly Anderson

Sergeant First Class Shelly Anderson

Inaugural chili cookoff is set for Sat., March 6

–The Paso Robles U.S. Army Recruiting Station is hosting a chili cookoff on Sat., March 6. Restaurants, chefs, and home cooks are invited to participate. The competition is free and open to the public. The inaugural chili cookoff will be live-streamed on Facebook for the public to watch.

“We’re doing this to bring community involvement to the younger generation to get them excited on doing something that has a bright future in any avenue that they take in, with the Army or in business,” says Sergeant First Class Shelly Anderson, a local recruiter.

An Army video production team will be filming to give the event the feel of cooking competitions show like Top Chef. “We will also have an Army chef showcasing his skills making chili in house and discussing his career,” she says.

Sergeant First Class Anderson will be providing information on Army opportunities for those who have a passion for cooking and the culinary arts, including the 92G Culinary Specialist military occupation. The skills recruits learn as culinary specialists help prepare them for a future with civilian cafes, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, hospitals, schools, and organizations that have their own dining facilities.

Rules of the cookoff

  • All chili must be ready for delivery to the judges on March 6. Drop off any time from noon to 1 p.m. A winner will be announced 15 minutes after the closing of the competition window.
  • For this chili cookoff, chili will be defined as any combination of meat, spices, and seasonings along with tomatoes, onions, peppers, beans, liquid such as broth whatever you call chili we will call chili. You may enter meatless, beanless, chicken, or turkey chili, all entries must be homemade or a restaurant’s own recipes that they are entering. Do not buy it from a store and claim it as your own.
  • One entry per restaurant or household.
  • You may choose to provide sides (optional).
  • There will be no food prep on location.
  • Please bring your own ladle or serving utensils. We will help transfer a portion into five cups for judges to taste. Spoons and bowls for judging will be supplied.
  • Applicants need to stay in the parking lot or vehicles and call in when arriving. You don’t have to stay for the entire competition. You can watch it live on Facebook US Army Recruiting Center Paso Robles.
  • Before judging begins, designated servers will fill small labeled cups with samples of each chili. The Chili cooker will stay in the parking lot or in their vehicles. At the time of judging, judges will be given a piece of paper, they may circle the numbers correlating to their top choices. Once all have been counted, the winners will be announced.
  • Chili should smell good, look good, and above all else taste good.


Criteria for judging

  • Taste above all else is the important factor. The taste should consist of the combination of the meat, beans, peppers, spices, etc with no particular ingredient being dominant, but rather a blend of the flavors.
  • Chili should smell good. This also indicates what is in store when tasting it.
  • Chili should look appetizing. Reddish-brown is generally accepted as good.


Guest judges include

  • Chef White from Paso Robles Culinary School
  • Chef Sandberg from Fish Gaucho
  • Captain Miranda – Commander for Gold Cold Coast Army Recruiting
  • City Official – Pending
  • Local residents Dan Anderson and Nicholas Jansen


For more information on participating, contact Sergeant First Class Shelly Anderson at the Paso Robles U.S. Recruiting Station, 211 Oak Hill Rd., Paso Robles, Calif., (805) 226-0207,

inaugural chili cookoff



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.