Sixth annual kosher chili cookoff to be held at JCC

For the sixth year, Nusach Hari B’nai Zion (NHBZ) will host a community-wide kosher chili cookoff Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Jewish Community Center’s Staenberg Family Complex in Creve Coeur. Competing teams will begin cooking at 2 p.m., and the community tasting and judging will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The chili cookoff is open to the entire community, and is intended to bring diverse parts of the community together in a fun, family-oriented setting open to all Jews regardless of background.

There are two ways to participate. First, competing teams, made up of up to four members, may enter and cook their favorite chili. Teams can enter representing community organizations, synagogues or temples, Men’s Clubs, sisterhoods, neighborhoods, families, or just a collection of friends. Awards will be given. This year’s cook-off will also feature a Youth Division, with competition for “Best Chili” amongst teams of teens. The Youth Division winners will receive a cash award.

Entrance forms and the official rules are available from the synagogue or online at

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Teams are encouraged to register early as space is limited, and registrants will be accepted on a first come basis.

The second way to participate is to attend. Even for those who may not want to cook, the entire community is invited in on the event as official tasters and to enjoy the entertainment.

Every attendee gets a vote in the People’s Choice Award, so competing teams are encouraged to bring all their friends and families to support their team. The $6 dollar entrance fee for attendees includes “tasting rights” to entrants’ chili (until they run out) as well as generous portions of the “house chili.” In addition to the chili, regular barbeque fare will be available for purchase at family friendly prices.

This year’s cookoff will also feature special entertainment-including a piñata for kids, and live music from Gary Sudin and Ron Steiner, 2005 Great Midwest Guitar Festival Fingerstyle Champion.

As a kosher chili cookoff, all teams will purchase meat through the synagogue, use the utensils and crockpots provided by the synagogue, and have all other ingredients checked in by the synagogue’s Rabbi, Rabbi Ze’ev Smason. For $5, the team can use the spices in the synagogue’s “spice bank” rather than going out and buying their own.