Spicy - The 45th Annual Great Northern Chili Cookoff

CN Centre · Friday, June 10, 1 pm to 8 pm · Saturday, June 11, 10 am to 6 pm · Sunday, June 12, 10 am to 4 pm

We’ve spoken at length about the various events during the BC Gourmet Arts Festival. Previously, I discussed the food trucks and their Sunday competition, but for this entry, I wanted to talk about Saturday, specifically the Great Northern Chili Cookoff.


Can you believe this event is in its 45th year? Forty-Five! I’m barely older than that. Obviously, it wasn’t without interruption, given the recent pandemic, but it’s back this year with a slew of competing teams battling for the prize (and unlike Highlander, no one will be decapitated to earn this one). It also joins the inaugural BC Gourmet Arts Festival occurring in June.


The cookoff takes place on June 11th between 11 am and 2 pm alongside the other tables and trucks of the festival. If you want to participate as a team, here are the rules:

Firstly, you’d need two or more people to form a team. I mean, that part’s kind of obvious. The festival provides cooked beef per Northern Health regulations, along with tents and small cookstoves. The teams just need to worry about supplying vegetables, spices, and secret ingredients. Additionally, teams will have to supply their own decorations, costumes, banners, and flyers to hand out. And, while this shouldn’t need to be said, a can opener and a really good spoon are likely critical.


Teams can assemble the chili on-site or bring pre-assembled ingredients, though this process must be completed before the event begins. As for portions, expect to make as many as 500 servings, equaling five large stew pots.


Remember, this event comes with a people’s choice award. Every bowl sold will come with a ballot to vote for their favorite chili. Previous years were challenging to choose a winner. The last time I enjoyed the cookoff, it came down to a three-way tie.


The process to attend the Great Northern Chili Cookoff only requires your appetite, a craving for fantastic chili, and of course, a few dollars to buy a bowl from the Potters Guild who put on the event. And the best part…you get to keep the bowl. I’ve collected three so far, and I’m eyeing a fourth.


Anyone interested in forming a team to compete should email Lisa at lredpath@studio2880.com