Are you ready to spice things up for our Annual Chili Cook-Off Attendees? Will your chili be rated one of the best? Sign-up and confirm your spot today and start thinking about how you can come out on top!


General Event Information for Teams

  • Everyone needs a ticket to sample each team’s chili at the Cook-Off. If you want to buy extra tickets for your team, employees or family members, they can be bought online at or on the day of the event at a Cook-Off sales booth.
  • NO ALCOHOL AND NO PETS. This will be strictly enforced by local police.
  • THIS IS A RAIN-OR-SHINE EVENT. NO RAIN DATE. No refunds will be given to teams who do not show up to cook. You will be notified before Sunday, if there will be any changes to the location/setup of the Cook-Off.
  • FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC: ROAD CLOSURES OCCUR FROM 7AM – 6:30PM ON GAY ST. FROM WALNUT TO NEW. The following streets between Market and Chestnut Street will be closed throughout the Cook-Off: High Street, Church Street, and Darlington Street.
  • DECORATING YOUR BOOTH. Teams are encouraged, but not required to create a theme for your team and decorate your booth space. First, Second and Third Prizes will be awarded. Cash prize for first place.
  • If First Aid is needed, go to the nearest Rotary Sales booth. EMS is onsite at the Cook-Off.

Reasons to Participate

Great Prizes

$2,500 Grand Prize People’s Choice
$500 for First Place in each Division
$250 for Second Place in each Division
$100 for Third Place in each Division
We also give a $300 prize for 1st place in “Best Decorated Booth”

Increase Marketing & Visibility

Get in front of 10,000 potential customers and build good public relations

Team Building

Bring your co-workers and build camaraderie while competing for the “People’s Choice” award.

Cost per Division

There are 5 different divisions that compete against each other:

Businesses – $150 entry fee

Restaurants – $150 entry fee

Country Clubs – $150 entry fee

Non-Profit Organization- $50 entry fee

Hometown Cook/Volunteer Organization/Rotary Club – $50 entry fee

Entry Fee Inclusions

  • 10 ft by 10 ft space (TENTS, TABLES & CHAIRS CAN BE RENTED)
  • Two Chili Tasting Wristbands – to taste other teams’ chili.
  • Two Event T-shirts. Extras t-shirts will be on sale at the Cook-Off.
  • An official Judging Tasting Cup. (Must be picked up at the 9:30 Chef’s meeting to compete. See information below)
  • Tasting cups, spoons, napkins and (qty 2) 2oz. serving ladles will be supplied by Rotary. Please Do Not Throw Away Any Extra Cups and Napkins. Rotary will pick them up when you are cleaning up.
  • Disposable Gloves (will be in your pumpkin bucket) – All food handlers are required to wear gloves while handling food. (Health Dept. requirement)
  • A Cooking Thermometer to ensure (per the CC Health Dept.) that your cold food is at or below 41 degrees and hot food (chili) must achieve 165 degrees when cooked, and be maintained or above 135 degrees.
  • Two (2) plastic tablecloths to cover the tables.
  • One Vehicle Pass for Set-up – This will be emailed to you. Only one vehicle per team or vendor will be allowed on Gay St. during the set-up hours of 7:30am-9:30am. NO Car Entry after 9:30am, streets will be closed to traffic.
  • Peoples’ Choice Voting Buckets – The tasting public will receive Three Wooden Nickels for voting with each wristband purchased. The chili team with the most Wooden Nickels wins the Peoples’ Choice Award at the end of the competition time. All voting will stop at @ 3pm when a Rotarian will collect your wooden nickels. This is where you want to encourage your friends, families and customers to come out and vote for you.

Cooking Chili Details

Click here to download the “Everything You Need To Know About Making Chili” pdf.

Click Here to Download Required Board of Health Form


Mandatory Chili Cook’s Meeting

  • A mandatory Chefs’ meeting will be held at 9:30 am on the day of the Cook-Off at the judging area. All teams MUST have at least one team member attend this meeting. JUDGING CUPS WILL BE HANDED OUT AT THE CHEFS’ MEETING. IN ORDER TO COMPETE FOR CHILI AWARDS YOU MUST HAVE AN OFFICIAL JUDGING CUP PROVIDED BY THE ROTARY CLUB OF WEST CHESTER.
  • Also bring a copy of your recipe. You will receive updated information on the rules, procedures, and location of the judging area. Please feel free to ask any questions.

Set-Up & Breakdown of Booth

  • The week before the event you will be notified of your booth location and your access route to enter Chili Cook-Off grounds. (Booth spaces have been assigned based on the order of applications received.)
  • Set-up begins at 7:30am and teams must complete delivery and set-up by 9:30am.
  • One vehicle per team will be allowed on Chili Cook-Off grounds during set-up time. Street parking is free on Sunday. Also, Public Garages are available nearby, locations and directions are on the website.
  • Place your parking pass in the window of your car. You will be greeted by a Rotarian at your access point.  He or she will direct you to your assigned booth location for set-up.
  • You will be then be met by your Rotarian, who will be your liaison and available for any questions throughout the event.
  • Please unload your tent, tables and supplies as quickly as possible and then exit and park your vehicle BEFORE 9:30am. Please follow the Rotary’s exiting instructions that morning. Walk back and Set-up your booth after you have parked your car. There are several free parking lots nearby.
  • If you need assistance during the day, contact your Rotary Block Captain or go to any Wristband Sales Booth.
  • If you rented a tent, tables and chairs from Rotary, please break down only the tables and chairs and the rental company will come by with their truck to load up after the award ceremony.
  • Clean and sweep your area. You are responsible for removing your trash. Please have a method to contain your trash. We will have a dumpster available for disposal. If you run out of trash bags, check with the Rotary Sales Booth at each intersection for extra bags.
  • Award Ceremony will be at @ 3:30pm at the center stage at Gay and High Streets.

View a booth set-up example.

Chester County Board of Health Regulations

YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITHOUT A TENT. This is mandatory from the CC Health Department. We offer a tent package that includes a tent, 2 tables and 2 chairs. Tent package payment must accompany your registration payment. The tent package cost is $75 (includes the rental of 1 tent, (2) 8ft. tables and 2 chairs). All items will be delivered by 7:30am to your team’s cooking location on Gay St.

  • A Simple Hand Washing Station – A 5-gallon container with spigot filled with potable warm water (90 to 100 degree Fahrenheit (F)), a dispenser with Liquid Soap (NOT HAND SANITIZER), a roll of paper towels and a basin for catching rinsing water.
  • Bottled Water – Water must be bottled if you plan to add it to your chili. Also useful for thirsty cooks and servers!
  • Cutting Boards, Knives and Can Opener (if necessary) – Do not leave these unattended in your booth, please. If any cuts happen, EMS is onsite and each Rotary Sales Booth (located at the intersections) will have first aid supplies.
  • Long Stirring Spoons (or a paddle) that reach the bottom of your chili pot! Constant stirring and low heat should prevent burning your wonderful chili at the bottom of the pot.
  • Trash Can with trash bags – You are responsible for removing your trash. Please have a method to contain your trash. We will have a dumpster available for disposal. The Rotary Club of West Chester and the Borough greatly appreciate your support.
  • Portable Fire Extinguisher – Better safe than sorry!

Restaurants and Non-profits that have a Chester County Health Department License to Operate a Public Eating or Drinking Place can bring pre-made chili from their facility on Cook-Off day. If just preparing chili you are not required to purchase a Temporary Health Department License, as the Rotary Club of West Chester attains one for the whole event. Restaurants and Non-profits (or Businesses or Hometown Cooks who team with a facility) with a CCHD License to Operate a Public Eating or Drinking Place are not required to cook on-site this year. Please submit this license at the time of registration, so it is on file prior to the Cook-Off. If you are unsure of your status, contact Rotarian Rob Malone at 610-220-9640 or

Click on each tab below for detailed requirements from the Chester County Board of Health.


  • INCLUDES: a 5-gallon container with a spigot filled with potable warm water (85 degree Fahrenheit (F) minimum) placed on a table with a catch bucket below, liquid soap (NOT HAND SANITIZER), and paper towels
    Hand sanitizers, alcohol towelettes or the equivalent CANNOT be used in lieu of proper hand washing techniques.
      1. at the start of the food handling/preparation process;
      2. after handling raw foods and before handling cooked foods;
      3. after smoking and after using the toilet
      4. before donning and after removing single-use glove


  • Standard-size gloves will be provided, please bring your own if you need to accommodate sizes on your team
    • In accordance with Subsection 46.261(b), “Except when washing fruits and vegetables food employees may not contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands, and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves or dispensing equipment.” Once your chili is cooked you should not have any hand contact with food without gloves.
    • after touching your body
    • after using the toilet
    • after handling dirty equipment or utensils
    • after handling raw food
    • after touching personal items (cell phone)
    • after any other activities that contaminate your gloves


  • Any Cook-Off food not prepared on-site must be prepared in a CCHD licensed facility.
  • Any meat used in the preparation of chili and/or served to the public must be USDA inspected. It cannot be from a local farmer, or from your own farm or wild game (see §.46.221 of the Food Code).
  • Any fresh vegetables used must be either:
    • Pre-washed at a facility licensed by the Dept. of Health
    • Store bought in the ready to use state without any washing needed
    • Washed on site at the station provided by Rotary
  • Chili ingredients and toppings such as beans, spices, cheese must be purchased from a commercially licensed facility (ex. grocery store).
  • All water used in the operation of a Public Food Service Facility must be from a source approved by this Department. Since individual interviews will not be done with each booth as would be done for individual licenses, only West Chester Borough or commercially bottled water may be used for food preparation, hand washing, or warewashing.
  • Ice used for maintaining temperatures cannot be consumed. If consumable ice is needed, it must be kept separate and clean.

REMINDER: Only chili may be prepared on site, except, if you are a vendor with your own Temporary License to Operate a Public Eating or Drinking Place. Mixing a drink, such as, juice and seltzer on site is considered preparing a food and is not allowed without a License.


In 1993, the bacteria, E. coli, was implicated in a large outbreak in the Pacific Northwest during 1993. This outbreak resulted in five deaths and over 500 individuals becoming ill. Undercooked hamburgers were identified as the source of the E. coli bacteria in this outbreak. Many of the recent E. coli outbreaks have also involved the consumption of undercooked ground beef. Since federal inspection of meat does not ensure an E. coli free product, the doneness of ground beef is of utmost importance in protecting the consumer.

Ground Beef

Ground beef must be cooked to heat all parts to a temperature of (155°F) for 15 seconds or the temperature specified in the following chart

Minimum Temperature Minimum Time
63°C (145°F) 3 minutes
66°C (150°F) 1 minute
70°C (158°F) Less than 1 second (instantaneous)

Other Meats and Fish

Since a great variety of chili is made of product other than ground beef. The following end temperatures apply:

  • 165°F or above for 15 seconds for poultry and wild game animals as specified in §46.221(a)
  • 145° F or above for 15 seconds for either fish, meat, pork including game animals commercially raised for food as specified in § 46.221 (a) that are not comminuted.

Members of the Rotary Club will be assisting you with checking temperatures.


  • Cold food must be maintained at a temperature of 41F or below
  • Ensure enough cold packs and/or ice is brought to maintain proper temperature
  • Once cooked, hot food must be maintained at a temperature of 135F or above
  • Ensure that enough electrical outlets or propane is provided to maintain proper temperature
  • Each participating team will be provided a stem type thermometerto measure refrigeration or cooler temperatures, hot holding temperatures and internal food temperatures. Members of the Rotary Club will be assisting you with checking temperatures.


  • Stations for washing produce will be set up. Any produce that isn’t purchased prewashed must be washed at this station.
  • Sanitizing stations will be set up for washing of utensils and equipment as needed. Food contact surfaces (utensils and equipment) must be sanitized every 4 hours or provide multiple sets of utensils to change out.

Storage of Food, Utensils, and Single Service Articles

  • Food, utensils, and single service articles must be stored off of the ground
  • Keep food wrapped until ready for preparation or service. Cover food between service. All unpacked or unwrapped food must be protected from dust, dirt and droplet contamination and protected from flies and other vermin.
  • Utensils (spoons, knives, can openers, etc.) and equipment (cutting boards, pots, etc.) used for food preparation must be kept clean. Storing in a container until use is acceptable.
  • Single service articles (e.g. paper plates, plastic utensils) must be packaged stored and handled in a sanitary manner and shall be used only once. Keep service articles in packaging until use. The Rotary Club will be providing chili tasting cups and spoons for you to give to the public.

Waste Removal

  • Bring trash bags and trash can to contain trash during event. The Rotary will provide a dumpster.
  • Bring sealable containers for wastewater removal. You must dispose of your own wastewater. Do not dump wastewater onto street.