No chills at Chili Cook-Off – hot recipes sure to warm up crowds


A lonely tractor cleared the weeds and debris last week in the Civic Center area as signs were posted and fences erected in preparation for the 20th Annual Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off, a Labor Day weekend tradition that culminates the summer season for Malibu.

Festivities, including multiple bands, food, drinks, raffling of prizes, carnival rides and the infamous chili cooking contests, are planned for this weekend, beginning with the carnival, Friday at 6 p.m.

This Malibu mainstay is entirely organized by 15 members of the Malibu Kiwanis Club. “We each have three different jobs,” said Nidra Winger, Kiwanis board of directors member, of the club’s preparation for the event.

“I have been at the Chili Cook-Off 20 years and never tasted the chili because I am so busy,” she said.

While chili chefs of all kinds battle over steaming stoves in this internationally renowned event for chili cooks, and Malibuites put their taste buds to the test, a 2001 Porsche Boxster will be displayed, enticing this year’s raffle contestants.

Kathleen Quinlan, star of TV’s “Family Law,” will pick the winning ticket for the Porsche.

The Malibu Kiwanis will buy or bought the car from Ogner Motors and have to sell at least 500 tickets ahead of time just to get the event underway.

But raffle tickets, at $100 each, can still be purchased at the front gates until 3 p.m., Sunday. It is not unusual for people to buy last minute tickets, said Winger.

The Kiwanis Club is a service club comprised of business and community members that offer up their time and resources to raise money. The funds are given back to the community to other nonprofit organizations, explained Winger. “We focus on children’s organizations,” she said.

Baseball programs, the Boys and Girls Club, schools, the library and the Garden Club are among the beneficiaries of this philanthropic organization.

Winger, who was the first female president at the Malibu club in 1993, said, “We will have a chili contest on both days, Saturday and Sunday.”

This year’s event will offer entertainment for the young, old and all ages in between. A virtual spectrum of music styles, including pop dance, new country, hip-hop, swing, blues, reggae and ethnic rock, will be featured.

For chili cooks, prizes will be given both Saturday and Sunday.

“Winners can go on to the world champion chili cooking contests,” said Winger.