FieryFoods UK Chilli Festival 2012 – My Report

by Thelurch on October 6, 2012 · 1 comment

in Chilli Event Reviews

There have been many Chilli Festivals to attend this year with the culmination being FFUK which this year was held on 14/15/16th September. This year’s festival was all the more poignant with the untimely passing of Pete Seymour, weeks before the event. He was Godfather of the Chilli world and head of the ChilliPepperPete operation which runs the festival. For the first time, the festival opened on the Friday night to extend the weekend fun. This is my report;

The gates opened on the dot of 5.00pm at the event held in Victoria Gardens, Brighton opposite the rather grand Royal Pavilion.The Friday night entertainment consisted of a “World Record” attempt by some unlucky individual (separate article coming) and the “Man Vs Fire” Buffet both compared by comedian Matt Whistler.

The buffet consisted of a whole host of different snack items including the likes of chilli pizza, chilli cocktails, fresh chillies, Super-hot burgers supplied by Burger off (a local burger restaurant)  Satan’s ashes curry, Chilli Chocloate Brownies and a few other “delicacies’”.Each was labelled with how many Scoville Heat Units were in it and the contestants could collect the labels once they had eaten each one.

 There was a 10 minute time limit too. Our own Darth Naga took part along with 4 others including Ted “The Fire Breathing Idiot” Barrus, who had been flown in from the US for the festival, he may be familiar to some of you, but you can see some of his videos he produced at the event on YouTube here but be aware that some of the things he attempts should not be attempted at home! and there will be some bad language.

It turned out that the eventual winner of the buffet was the only female taking part, Clare Cameron (pictured above with her trophy) who I believed consumed something in the region of 9 million Scovilles!

On Saturday the gates opened at 11.00 and the event started to fill up, the sun was shining, the bar was very popular! There was a great selection of traders including The Chilli Pepper Company, Grim Reaper Foods, Mr Vikkis, Mad Ass, Burning Desire, Chillilicious and China Spice.

I was asked to be a Judge, along with Ted Barrus and Carl Anderson on the National Chilli Awards for the professional sauces which meant us sitting on our own and tasting lots of small containers of chilli products to decide the winners in various different categories.

After that we as Judges were then invited on stage with compare Rob Dumbrill to present the Chilli Awards.

These awards have become very prestigious as previous years entrants in the Amateur category were not only now set up and selling their sauces but also now winning the professional awards too.Congratulations to those that won.

Next was a very moving video tribute to Chilli Pepper Pete which was played on the large screens, you can see it below:

Then at 6.00pm the Chilli eating competition began, 15 contestants, 10 chillies, last man or woman wins.

Rules –

  • Every competitor has to swig a mouthful of beer to start, which washes away any substance they may or may not have secreted in the mouth to help with the burn.
  • The whole chilli must be chewed and swallowed (excluding the stalk)
  • If anyone is sick they are out, even a “burp with substance” counts as Rob so nicely stated

So the competitors progressed through the rounds from the Aci Sivri at about 5,000 SHU’s and topped out at the Borg 9, topping a cool 2 million SHU’s! until there was a winner.

The evening continued with live music and the bar kept serving until the show closed at 9.00pm.

Sunday began with live music again, and the judging of the Amateur Sauce category, this is a much sought after title as previous winners of this have gone on to start up their own companies.

This was won by Karen Willmott who goes under the name “Mrs Chutney”,with her Chilli sauce called Sunrise.

Not only did she receive the award, but by winning she gets to work with ChilliPepperPete on getting her chilli sauce into production.

Also at the show was the National BBQ Network, who were running 2 days of their “Ready Steady Q” which is a take on Ready Steady cook where contestants got the same cut of meat and could choose 5 additional items from their store cupboard and in 45 minutes had to create something on the BBQ to impress the judges, everything was supplied and winners would go through to the final with a chance to win some great prizes.

This was a nice extra attraction on both days and the spectators were able to sample the freshly cooked food

But before you could say Habanero, it was time for the 2nd Chilli eating competition…3…2…1…chew!

And then sadly the festival was over for another year.

I think it was very fitting tribute to Pete Seymour.

The festival will be seen again albeit in parts, on television as ITV and the BBC were at the festival filming for different TV shows.

All I can say is bring on next year!

 

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