The 2nd Reading Chilli Cook-off

Saturday, 2 June 2012 - 12:00pm


The 2nd Reading Chilli Cook Off – Judges Report

by Darth Naga on June 8, 2012


Some things happen in this world by chance, others only happen when you ask..well on this occasion it was the latter. I had heard of the “Reading chilli cook off” back in 2011, it was in a pub garden, with a handful of stalls and a load of teams competing for that years cup and a £250 grand forward one year and now its being held in one of Readings beautiful country parks alongside this years Jubilee festival, held in Prospect park, Tilehurst.

The cook off was organised a year ago by a chap named Jon Doody, who told me how and why he came up with the idea:

“I came up with the Reading Chilli cook-off simply because I couldn’t find a cook off for myself to compete in. I thought it would be fun to get like-minded people togrther for something completely different and I’m really pleased that people have taken the event to their hearts!”

So Jon is something of a pioneer in the UK, there is no other event like it and so far, since its birth I can’t say i’ve seen any others like it, though if this years event is anything to go by, judging from the popularity of it I can’t see it being very long before chilli cook off’s pop up countrywide, I just hope they give a nod to the Godfather of the UK chilli cook off scene (thats Jon Doody to you and me!)

Although I enjoy giving you guys my thoughts on the event, I also have a special bit of insight from one of the stallholders, Mr Paul Brayshaw, of “Pauls Pizza” in Saltdean, East Sussex who attended the event this year with his “Saltdean Sizzler” pizza, a world record (pending) pizza:


We drove up from Brighton to be part of the Reading Chilli Cook-Off and really enjoyed it! We felt the festival had a really friendly atmosphere and were so pleased to be invited. The event was very popular; people attended from Reading as well as further afield.

We had great fun and enjoyed watching locals attempt a slice of our Saltdean Sizzler pizza challenge too! I think they were grateful for the First Aid tent!

We loved the smells coming from the Cook-Off and the ones we tried tasted fantastic.

We look forward to coming back next year!


Paul’s Pizza

So, there it is through the eyes of a stallholder at the event…but what of the cookoff itself? Well I was there simply because I spoke to Jon to see if he needed anymore judges for the cook off, lo and behold it turned out he was actually short about three! So I asked a chef friend of mine “Nervous” Nick Jeffels, and my reviewing chum Binbagz (Andy Robertson) if they would be happy to help with the Judging, to my delight they both said yes!

Throughout the day myself, Binbagz and Nick wandered around the event speaking to a few of the teams and getting their thoughts on it all, seeing the numerous techniques and ingredients different teams were using. Smelling some of the chilli’s as we walked round, we knew that we were not only in for a treat, but also for one of the toughest decisions we’ve made. The stalls were numerous, ranging from a coffee and homemade cakes, to an army shotting range, some fairground rides and of course a fully stocked beer tent, because lets face it, what festival doesn’t have a beer tent??

There were also a handful of chilli related stalls at the event, namely Hot Headz, Mr Pickles, Wiltshire Chilli Farm, Simpson Seeds and Facing Heaven. Between them all i think that almost, if not all tastes were catered for, from mild to wild and I reckon that as soon as word spreads there will be even more chilli stalls next year!

The judging itself was a fun, but extremely difficult task,of the numerous chilli’s that had been entered into the event (19 in total!) there were only a few that weren’t notable in any way, the rest were outstanding and thus this made our job even harder! Fortunately the judging is done blind, so we have no idea who has cooked what and therefore can’t be biased about them.

Whilst we were judging the samples that were being passed to us, the general public were allowed to buy spoons for £1 each and go round to try all the chilli’s themselves, this money was then put into a pot for charity, which i am told that including the other charity things on the day, and money still coming in it’s raised about £4000 for various charities!

The Cook Off Winners - Royal Q Pit Crew

The Cook Off Winners - Royal Q Pit Crew

In the end, several samples and very difficult decisions later, the “Royal Q Pit crew” consisting of Steve Heyes and Neil Welsh (, walked away with first prize, their BBQ chilli was a first for them, and they were extremely surprised at having won, suffice to say we weren’t as it was a clear winner for us, 4 different cuts of meat, amazing herbs and spices and a nice warm kick made for a cracking concoction that was hard to beat!


Position Team Score
1 Royal Q Pit Crew 183
2 Spicy Sensation 182
3 Big Chef, Little Chef 178
4 Alcanon 177
5 Fox & Hounds 176
6 Foxy Hot Stuff 174
7 Los Testiculos 171
8 Rose & Thistle 160
9 Three Grumpy Men 152
10 Wayward Texans 147
10 Team Zapata 143
12 Friar Tuck 143
12 DP Huecuvus 142
14 Chia Chicas 142
15 Ben’s Big Chilli Band 130
16 DP Dave 129
17 Fatalii Attraction 122
18 C+C Club 111
19 Antony Milward 89



I would say the event was a massive success, and i think this one will end up being one of *the* events to go to every year, hopefully next year it will be a 2 day event with camping and such..that would be AWESOME!

Well, as always my chilli padawans, its come a time when i shall bid you all adieu and say, may the sauce be with you..always, take care!

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