I’ve always been intrigued by Hi-Time Wine Cellars annual Chili Cook-off each August. The event photos always look so fun! Though August doesn’t seem like prime chili season, it is pre-season football and so, a great way to inspire your own tailgate fare. I reached out to Tobin Sharp, Hi-Time’s Creative Director and Charity Cook-off MC, for the low down on this 12th Annual Charity Chili Cook-off on Sunday, Aug. 12.
How did the Hi-Time Charity Chili Cook-off start?
A former Hi-Time employee, Jeff McKinney, suggested it and we thought it was a great way to engage with the community while supporting a local charity. Tracy Hanson took over the reins for our third cook-off and has run it ever since. The event has really blossomed this past decade under Tracy’s leadership. It’s a fun day for a great cause.
What is the cost to attend?
Admission is $10 pre-sale donation ($15 at the door) or $20 donation for admission and 20 raffle/drink tickets ($25 at the door). Tasting chili and water bottles come with admission; drinks are five tickets each. There is live music throughout the day to entertain the crowds and a few prize drawings. There are over 30 booths run by local businesses and members of the community showcasing chili samples to the attendees. There is healthy competition amongst those booths as they each try to earn a prize both from the official judges and the public.
Why the choice of the Boys & Girls Club as the beneficiary?
Many kids from the Hanson and Hirst clans, who own Hi-Time, took part in the Boys & Girls Club activities in their youth and benefited from their wonderful work. We wanted to give back to the Club for the help they gave our kids. We have raised over $250,000 for our local Boys & Girls Club over the past 11 years.
What is your favorite chili and what wine do you pair with it?
My favorite chili changes from year to year, depending on the chefs and ingredients. One year, I was really impressed with a chili that made liberal use of goose fat as a key ingredient. It was as lush and flavorful as the component suggests. It went on to win first place overall that year. There was a vegetarian chili another year that had a strong smoke component that really grabbed me. Wine wise, I would aim for either a red wine with forward sweet fruit (think zinfandel, syrah or merlot) that would help quench the fiery chili spice with soothing sweetness. I also suggest a crisp white wine with either good acidity to cut through the fattiness of a richer chili or, again, a bit of sweetness (think riesling) to temper the spicy heat. Then again, a cold beer or appropriate cocktail (margaritas or Kentucky mules, for example) works quite well too.
Hi-Time Wine Cellars Charity Chili Cook-off
Sunday, August 12 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm – Tickets
250 Ogle Street, Costa Mesa