Get your chili powder ready! The 21st Annual St. Jude Chili Cook-off will be held Saturday at the Minden Civic Center in conjunction with the St. Jude Auction.
Once again, Minden has been designated as the site for the 2012 Louisiana State Championship and cooks from across the nation are making plans to attend this year's event, according to George E. French, III, cook-off chairman.
"State championships not only draw more cooks but the first three Louisiana cooks that place automatically qualify for the World Championships held in Terlingua, Texas during the first weekend in November," French said.
Minden's cook-off is sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) and hosted by CASI members.
"Last year former world champs and our National CASI president joined us to help out," French said. "Seventy-one cooks registered from Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas."
The public is encouraged to attend and taste world-class chili and vote for a favorite for the People's Choice Competition. Last year more than 400 "tasting cups" were sold to those who came out to sample the chili.
Also, local cooks are strongly encouraged to participate in the "Local Cooks" category, which is being held again this year.
Last year, $944,628 in donations was raised for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and of that, $5,010 was earned from the cook-off.
"For their efforts, Minden folks were recognized as a 'Million Dollar City,'" French said.
The 2012 cook-off will be preceded by a gumbo supper for the chili cooks Friday night from 6:30 until 7:30. The gumbo is courtesy of Maria Gildon and Melissa Lodatto.
Breakfast for the chili cooks will be served Saturday from 8 until 9 a.m. with a meeting to follow at 9:30.
Cooks are to have their tasting cups ready by 11 a.m. and turn in their chili samples for judging at 1 p.m.
Anyone interested in participating as a cook, contact George French, III at 371-5601.