Ahead of a full article on the UK Chilli Cook Association (UKCCA) heats taking place this year, here is some information on the heat being held in Bedfordshire at The Mansion House Chilli & Gourmet Food Fiesta;

Chilli aficionados who believe they can cook an amazing Chilli-Con-Carne now have an opportunity to see how their favourite recipe compares with the best in the UK. The Mansion House at Old Warden, in association with Edible Ornamentals and the UK Chilli Cook Off Association, are holding the first heat in the Great British Chilli Cook Off. This event will be one of the highlights of the Chilli and Gourmet Food Fiesta which will be held in the grounds of The Mansion House on 8th and 9th June.

Hugely popular in the USA, chilli cook offs are rapidly becoming popular here in the UK. Teams of up to 4 keen chilli fans will have 4 hours to prepare and cook one gallon of chilli con carne to their own recipe which will then be judged by an expert panel.  The hottest chilli won’t necessarily be the winner as judges will be looking for the best appearance, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste of the chilli.  The winning team will receive a cash prize of £250 and entry into the UK final of the UK Chilli Cook Off which will be held later in the year. The winners of the UK final will a free expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to represent the UK in the World Chilli Cook Off event.

Members of the public will also be invited to sample and judge the best chilli. The prizes for the public judging will include a Chilli Tour and Tasting for Two at Edible Ornamentals, the world’s first pick-your-own chilli nursery, and afternoon tea for four at The Mansion House.  The proceeds from the public judging will be donated to CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families.  The UK Chilli Cook Off Association hope to exceed their charity donations for last year when they raised over £4000 for cancer charities.

To enter a team for the Chilli Cook Off at The Mansion House contact Shelley on 01767  626208 or register online at

  • 2013 is the 3rd year the Chilli and Gourmet Food Fiesta has been held at The Mansion House
  • Teams will have 4 hours to cook a gallon of chilli from scratch, bringing their own ingredients and cooking facilities (Camping Gas or BBQ).
  • Each team’s Chilli will be judged by a panel of Chilli experts. Entry fee is £10 per team (teams can be made up of any number of people).
  • The competition will be split over the two days. Teams will only need to compete on either the Saturday or the Sunday, not both days. The team with the highest score over the weekend wins
  • All money raised from the Bedfordshire Chilli Cook-off will be donated to CLIC Sargent





There are not too many chilli producers in Scotland, but Galloway Chillies are in that very small group. Sheena, who runs the company, makes a range of chilli jams from her own home grown chillies. She comes from a farming family and is passionate about local and British produce and is very community orientated.

With that in mind she and nine other girls are going to be shearing 500+ sheep for charity on the 31st May 2013 – An event called ‘Ladyshear’

There is a facebook page for the event here

Shearing sheep is something that Sheena has experience of, being a farming girl, but not for over 18 years.

The reason for doing this is to raise funds for two charities – her local community hospital and the Royal Highland Education Trust who help to educate school children on where the food they eat comes from.

Sheena is putting together a chilli basket/hamper for the auction and is hoping that other British chilli businesses could donate something to it to make a proper collection of goodies. So far she has her own products, Bountiful Seeds, Dartmoor Chilli Farm and Wiga Wagaa Chillis donating to the hamper.

Sheena told me “I feel in this area especially that people don’t realise the amazing chilli products that are out there and by doing this, we will not only be giving a great auction prize but also promoting the many chilli businesses that are out there

So calling all you UK hot sauce, pickle, chutney and jam makers out there, if you feel you can help by donating something to this worthy cause please contact Sheena via her website or her facebook page or via twitter @GallowayChilli

For those reading this who feel they could donate money directly, the group has a Just Giving page which gives some more information:



Cooking a good Chilli is more than a few chopped tomatoes, mince and chilli powder these days, just ask the Americans, they have been doing cook offs for years and the UK is now catching up thanks to a man with a passion called Jon Doody who formed the UK Chilli Cook Off Association (UKCCA). As the Chilli season rapidly approaches, there are various “Cook off’s” being organised the length and breadth of the UK.
So here is Jon to explain a little more:
“Can you cook a fantastic Chilli con Carne from scratch or know someone who can? Fancy becoming the UK champion? The UK Chilli Cook-off Association has a number of competitions running throughout the country to discover the best Chilli in the land. Competing is fun and easy and you’ll be helping to raise money for various charities in the UK. 
There are several heats already organised that you can join, including events on the Isle of Wight, Bedfordshire, Upton Cheyney, Dorset and Northumberland, with upcoming events in London, Reading, East Sussex and the North West of England. 
Heats will comprise of teams cooking a quality Chilli from scratch within 4 hours, using nothing but uncooked ingredients. Our panel of expert judges will decide who wins the £250 1st prize. Winners and runner’s up from each heat qualify for the UK final later in the year!
To find out more about Chilli Cook-offs, with details on how to enter any of our competitions, please go to
The UKCCA also assists in helping people organise their own Chilli Cook-offs. If you’re part of a community group or pub/club and you’re looking for something different to organise in your area, you can have you very own cook-off that is sanctioned by the UKCCA. We can provide you with a cook-off kit that has everything you need to run your own event. PLUS, the winner of any UKCCA sanctioned event automatically qualifies for the UK final!! To enquire, please go to our contact page here and send us your details.”

So there you have it, if you think your Chilli is any good, have a go, these competitions are really good humoured and good fun.

Here are the current Cook offs :
  • Bedfordshire Chilli Cook-off 08/06/2013 – 12:00pm
    Welcome to the event page for the Bedfordshire Chilli Cook-off at the wonderful Chilli & Food Fiesta at the Mansion House, Old Warden Park, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire On June 8th 2013, up to 20 teams will compete to become the Bedfordshire Chilli Champion
  • The North East Chilli Cook-off 07/07/2013 – 12:00pm
    Welcome to the event page for the North of England’s Chilli Cook-off at the fabulous North East Chilli Festival at Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland!…
  • London Chilli Cook-off 20/07/2013 – 12:00am
    Chilli heads of London! The UK Chilli Cook-off train will be thundering your way in the Summer of 2013. We expect that this will be one of our more popular events of the year…
  • The Isle of Wight Chilli Cook-off 27/07/2013 – 11:00am
    Welcome to the event page for the Isle of Wight Chilli Cook-off at the wonderful Isle of Wight Chilli Fiesta…
  • The Great Dorset Chilli Cook-off 04/08/2013 – 12:00pm
    Welcome to the event page for the Dorset Chilli Cook-off at the fabulous Great Dorset Chilli Festival at St Giles House, Wimbourne St Giles, Dorset On Aug 4th 2013, up to 20 teams will compete to become the Dorset Chilli Cook-off Champion
  • The 2nd Upton Cheyney Chilli Cook-off 07/09/2013 – 10:00am
    Welcome to the event page for the 2nd Upton Cheyney Chilli Cook-off at the fabulous Upton Cheyney Chilli Festival at Manor Farm, Upton Cheyney, nr Bath. Yes, we’re back again after the success of the 2012 festival!…


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