Fun in the Sun Chili Cook-Off returns to Castaic

Sargeant Victor Lewandowski of the Los Angeles Homicide Bureau prepares a batch of his defending champion “Bulldog” chili at the 2017 Chili Cook-Off in Castaic on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal
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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department held the 2017 Chili Cook-Off in Castaic on Saturday drawing hundreds of hungry chili enthusiasts to the Jack Bones Equestrian Center.

The cook-off hosted over 25 chili booths, each sampling their own recipe.

Aided by the music of a live band, themed chili booths served samples to chili voters by the hundreds. Themes varied from Wonder Woman to Halloween Horrors and competitors set up interactive props for people to entertain themselves with.

Amongst the themed booths, was the LASD Bomb Squad with a robotic bomb detonator and bomb suit on display.

“A lot of people use hickory and other oak. I use red oak and Alder wood,” said Ron Greene, chili cook for the bomb squad. “That’s the difference from everybody else.”

The squad placed third in last years cook-off and hopes to place again, but mostly just hopes to serve good chili and enjoy the environment.

The Los Angeles Parrot Head Club serves their own chili recipe from their islander themed booth at the 2017 Chili Cook-Off in Castaic, on Oct. 14, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

Meanwhile, the LASD Homicide Bureau booth was serving last year’s winning recipe.

The mastermind behind the chili was Sergeant Victor Lewandowski who crafted the “Bulldog” chili from home grown peppers.

Lewandowski grows a Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper, that currently holds the title of second hottest chili in the world.

The preparation process of the chili takes a week in total and several hours to cook.

“Every batch of chili has a scorpion pepper in it along with some other hot peppers that i grow,” said Lewandowski.

For Lewandowski, it’s the entire process that makes his chili great.

“It’s the meat, it’s the hot peppers, it’s the spices and it’s the good people that come together to put it on,” he said.

Proceeds from the event went to the athletes of Special Olympics Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley.

Sheriff Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department demonstrates lasoing at the Chili Cook-Off in Castaic on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/The Signal

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