Expect a hot time around Cambrias Veterans Memorial Building on Saturday, April 21, with pots of chili on the Pinedorado grounds side and 37 notable vehicles on display in the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot at 1000 Main St.
The cook-off competition between a bakers dozen of chili recipes runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with sampling ($5, one taste per booth) and judging from noon to 3 p.m., although cooking begins much earlier. Attendees vote, too, for Peoples Choice awards.
At the free car show, attendees vote for their favorite cars from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Cambria Chamber of Commerce sponsors the two-pronged event. Theres also a Rotary Club beer-tasting booth ($3).
Local businesses and nonprofit groups participate, according to chamber Executive Director Mary Ann Carson, because it gets their names out there on sponsorship plaques and competition booths, and because any event that draws in people from out of town has the potential to help business.
For details, call 927-3624.
Proud owners are bringing their vehicles from as far away as Acampo (between Sacramento and Stockton) to compete for awards, goodie-bags and bragging rights. Five of the cars are from Bishop, east of Madera near the Nevada state line.
The display vehicles range from a 1928 Ford Model A Roadster, 1936 Auburn and 1958 Morris Minor to a 1967 Shelby GT500, 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT and a rare 2005 Holden Monaro.
There are seasoned (pun intended) veterans among those preparing some of this years 13 chili entries, such as frequent award-winners Jim and Andy Loveless for Cambria Window Cleaning, John MacKinnon of Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill and David Smokey Drew from Sons of American Legion Post No. 432. Jon Greenberg is competing again for the Lions Club, as is Bryan Taylor of the 5 Hundy Social Club.
Judges include: cookbook author Marjorie Ott, co-owner/chef of Olallieberry Inn; Victoria Moreno, pastry chef/caterer; Chef Deborah Scarborough from Black Cat Bistro; and Jeri and Terry Farrell, Cambrias 2011 co-citizens of the year. Judges are to assign points for taste, texture and color, disqualifying any undercooked or scorched chili entries.
Ott said, I look for a little heat, but not too much. Texture really what I look for it has to have some substance to it. In the beans-no beans chili debate, Cambrias past winners almost always have had beans, recalled Carson, but theres always been variety, including vegetarian, white, green or even Hawaiian chili with fruit in it.
MacKinnon advises other competitors to use good ingredients and youd better make a lot of chili. They say to bring five gallons, but in his opinion, thats half to a third of whats really needed. If theyre in it to win it, but they run out of chili, theyre only getting votes from a third of the people coming through.
The only thing that matters to me is great flavor, judge Victoria Moreno, a former pastry chef and now proprietor of Victorias Last Resort bed and breakfast in Cambria. Chili is one of those iconic dishes that everyone has their own family recipe. Personally, I love some heat in chili but I am just looking forward to seeing who really gets that balance of flavors that makes you want to keep eating it. That is the true test of a good chili ... you just want more!