This was our fifth year hosting our annual chili contest. Every year I learn something new and add to the contest. This year I added signs to each chili, letting guests know what what unique or special about each chili. In years past, we've had people some their meat first, then put it in the chili. It's fun to know what each chili is bringing to the contest. The actual event is so much fun, but the prep is the most important to allow me (the host) to enjoy it also.
It all starts with a plan and a checklist. I like to list out what supplies I need by category, and also tasks to be completed by day/time if needed.
After you've done all of your shopping, it's time to setup the various items (chili's, signs, prizes, voting, etc.). Place small labels in spots where food will go to ensure you know where to put items. When people start showing up, it can get hectic. Having spots already prepped helps move things along.
TIP! Have serving utensils ready for chili's and unexpected appetizers. Assume people will forget to bring them.
This is the part of the contest that has evolved over the years. I went from having the taster cups on my kitchen island to buying aluminum trays from the Dollar Tree for each voter. NOW, I want my dad to make custom voter trays that will hold the taster cups, voting card, taster spoon, and pen.
TIP! Label the bottom of each taster cup so voters know what chili they are eating. Typically a couple of us gals fill each of the cups with the various chili's and place them in the trays.
Every year I seem to do something different with the prizes. This year I thought it would be good to buy things that would be helpful for the contestants.
TIP! Create labels to place around the chili's that are the winners.