2013-08-30 / On The Town

Chili chefs take contest seriously

Annual Hospice cook-off on Sunday
By Stephanie Guzman


PINCH OF THIS, DASH OF THAT—Chili of all kinds will be available at the Camarillo Chili Cook-off and Music Festival at the Camarillo Rancho House on Sunday. Winners will be entered in a championship cook-off set for October in Palm Springs. 
RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers PINCH OF THIS, DASH OF THAT—Chili of all kinds will be available at the Camarillo Chili Cook-off and Music Festival at the Camarillo Rancho House on Sunday. Winners will be entered in a championship cook-off set for October in Palm Springs. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers When Jay Bayman is stirring a pot of his homemade chili, just call him JalapeƱo.

It’s an appropriate nickname for the retired Camarillo resident who likes his chili with a kick and is known for adding a few extra spicy green peppers, his favorite ingredient.

Bayman is one of 40 cooks who will compete Sept. 1 in the fifth annual Camarillo Chili Cook- Off and Music Festival.

The Labor Day weekend event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Camarillo Ranch House, and all proceeds support Camarillo Hospice, a volunteer hospice and grief counseling center.

The cook-off is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, which is why Bayman and his team—along with the other chili cooks—take the contest so seriously.

The competition is fierce. Categories include two types of chili, red and green, as well as a salsa contest and a people’s choice award for chili.

The winner of each category will receive a cash prize and a spot in the championship chili cook-off in Palm Springs in October.

Bayman hopes his red chili— which he named Hard Times Chili for the economic downturn—will take him to Palm Springs and a shot at the international chili title.

Bayman says he likes to experiment while cooking.

“I got a recipe I kind of follow, but then you add different chili powders and seasonings and cook what tastes good,” Bayman said.

“My team loves to cook by the seat of our pants, and it all depends on how we feel that day and how it tastes.”

Bayman’s team includes his wife, Patti, and two other Camarillo couples: Tim and Carlene Grey, and Wayne and Terry Penquite.

The six-member team works together as tasters, spooning savory chili and adding more spices here and there.

Bayman said the cook-off is a good excuse for the couples to get together and socialize with their neighbors.

Better yet, it’s for a good cause.

“I had a nephew’s son die of cancer at the age of 5 about a year and a half ago, and he was on hospice,” Bayman said. “Hospice volunteers do God’s work.”

Last year’s cook-off attracted more than 2,000 people and raised about $65,000 for the Camarillo Hospice, money needed to support the organization.

Yvonne Parker, chair of the Chili Cook-Off and Music Festival, said the event is familyfriendly and features live music, kids games, a car show and a poker tournament.

Winners of the poker tourney will be treated to gift certificates from local restaurants, a round of golf at Spanish Hills Country Club and Trader Joe’s grocery gift baskets.

Parker, a Camarillo volunteer and hospice board member since 2005, said children can visit the venue’s kids zone and play games, get their faces painted and try to conquer the obstacle course.

Tickets are $10.

Children under 10 and enlisted military members will be admitted at no charge.

For more information, visit http://CamarilloChiliCook-off.com.

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