SCV Charity Chili Cook-off to support pet rescues

Chili Cookoff in 2019 File Photo

The seventh annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-off, which raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for local nonprofit organizations, is supporting Shelter Hope Pet Shop and St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary/Lange Foundation, event organizers recently announced.

“All the money raised at the event will stay here to benefit animals in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Chili Cook-off founder Nicole Stinson.

“Every year, the SCV Charity Chili Cook-off gets bigger and more popular,” said event co-chair Steve Portaro. “This year, we’re hoping to make a significant contribution to both animal rescues.”

SCV Charity Chili Cook-off

Marcy James and Nicole Stinson co-founded the SCV Charity Chili Cook-off in 2012.

“We were sitting at lunch and I was taking notes on a napkin,” said Stinson.

The duo was looking at creating an event to benefit smaller, or unknown charities.

“We knew the money we raised would have a bigger impact for those charities,” she said.

The first year, held at the Embassy Suites in Valencia, Stinson said they expected 100 people to attend — about 600 showed up.

The second year the event was held at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia saw  1,600 attend, about double what was expected.

After moving for a few years to a larger venue, Wolf Creek Brewery in the Southern California Innovation Park in Valencia, the event is moving again, now to The Oaks (formerly Tournament Players Club) in Valencia.

“We moved the event to The Oaks so we can have an inside venue in case it rains,” Stinson said. “This year, the event will be spread out as an indoor and outdoor event, but if there is rain there is room to move it all inside.”

Stinson estimated the Cook-off has donated more than $180,000 in the past six years.

Shelter Hope Pet Shop, St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary

Kim Sill of Shelter Hope Pet Shop said all funds received from the event will be used to at Valencia Town Center. Shelter Hope was founded by Sill in 2011.

“We are very excited to be part of the Charity Chili Cook-off,” she said. “It is very expensive to run a nonprofit shelter like we do.”

“On a daily basis, we rescue and rehabilitate dogs from death row. We rescue them, clean them up and get them to a vet,” she said. “We pull dogs from the highest kill shelters in California.”

The nonprofit has a location at Valencia Town Center where people can adopt animals. Money from the cook-off will be used for veterinarian costs and to improve the location at the mall.

Gillian Lange founded the Lange Foundation in 1993 after founding The Amanda Foundation in 1975. Since becoming involved in animal rescue she has helped rescue and place more than 35,000 animals including cats, dogs and horses.

Lange’s location in Canyon Country, St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary, is a refuge for abandoned horses, cats and dogs.

“We are proud to have been chosen to be a beneficiary of the Charity Chili Cook-off,” said Lange.

Lange said proceeds from the event will be used exclusively at St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary which was opened in 2007.

Shelter Hope owner Dani Chouette, left, holds up short-haired cat Wilson for Tyler Roman, 7, as he prepares to take the cat home for adoption at Shelter Hope Pet Shop in the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall in Valencia . (Photo by Dan Watson)

Cooking chili and more

The SCV Charity Chili Cook-off will feature 45 SCV chili-cookers competing for trophies in a judged chili competition. Trophies are awarded for first, second and third place.

“It is a blind tasting,” said Stinson. “The judges won’t know whose chili is whose.”

In addition, event attendees will vote for the People’s Choice first-, second- and third-place winners.

“We also give a prize for the best-decorated chili-cooker booth,” Stinson said.

Chilis range from vegetarian to venison and beyond.

Chili cooker Channi Kaur has won the People’s Choice First Place trophy the past two consecutive years.
“I was really happy that people enjoyed my chili,” she said.

Kaur’s winning chili, “Chicken Masala Chili” is a fusion chili. She’s currently working a new chili flavor this year, but isn’t sure it will be ready in time for the competition. Kaur said she cooks fusion with Indian/Mexican and Indian/Italian influences.

“I love the fact that the Chili Cook-off is for a good cause,” Kaur said.

Event attendees will be able to taste all the chili they want, as well as enjoy live music, dancing, a silent auction, vendors, a photo booth, a “Kids Korner” and more.

Featured at the event will be the Lucy Pet Surf Wave Machine, where guests can see dogs surf and ride the waves.

Shelter Hope Pet Shop and St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary also plan to bring rescue animals on site looking for their new best friends and loving homes. Guests will be able to start pet adoptions at the event.

Max, three-month-old German shepherd at Shelter Hope Pet Shop in the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall in Valencia . (Photo by Dan Watson)

Getting tickets

General admission is $25 until Feb. 14. Prices will increase to $30 after that date VIP tickets (only 250 available) are available in advance for $65, which includes early entry at 5:30 p.m., preferred parking, a drink ticket, souvenir glass, swag bag and hors d’oeuvres provided by Salt Creek Grill and Wolf Creek Restaurant. VIP tickets are only available online in advance.

It is a family-friendly event.

To purchase tickets, visit For questions regarding the event or sponsorship call Nicole Stinson at (661) 816-4234 or Steve Portaro at (310) 800-3064. The seventh annual SCV Charity Chili Cook-off will be held March 21, 6 p.m. at The Oaks Club of Valencia (formally TPC), 26550, Heritage View Lane, Valencia

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