SHEF Chili Cook-Off Celebrating 10 Years
The event raises money to benefit the Somerset Hills School District.
Just 10 years after it first began, the Somerset Hills Education Foundation (SHEF) is moving its annual Chili Cook-Off to Tranquility Farms in Chester.
The farm is owned by former Bernards High School graduate Ricci Desiderio and his wife Stephanie.
Alice Rose, executive director of the Somerset Hills Education Foundation, said they are excited to bring the event to this location, in addition to a couple other extras added to the event this year.
The event was held in previous years at Upton Pynes, but the property is now up for sale.
“Both the mechanical bull and Vealtown Jess the Quick Draw Cowboy, a robot gun-slinger, will return,” she said. “Also new this year is the use of Otego Auction Technology, an electronic bidding-by-text silent auction system that will enable guests to bid on the silent auction throughout the venue.”
The Chili Cook-Off itself, Rose said, was started 10 years ago by the foundation’s trustees to help support the organization’s mission.
“That is to support and provide education opportunities through innovative programs and projects for the benefit of the students of the Somerset Hills School District,” she said.
The cook-off will be held March 23, beginning at 6 p.m. It will feature chili tastings, western entertainment, live music by Catz and Dawgs, a silent auction and bars, plus the Chili Pepper Lounge for sponsors and VIP guests.
Tickets, Rose said, are $100, $150 and, for the VIP guests, $250.
Rose said the event’s platinum event sponsor is Lexus of Bridgewater, which will have vehicles on display.
Plus, Rose said, there will of course be some of the best chefs around.
“The event will feature 25 chili chefs who represent area restaurants, caterers and community organizations, as well as individuals who are passionate about SHEF and chili,” she said. “Also featured will be Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Patron Spirits.”
The goal, Rose said, is to exceed last year’s $80,000 earnings, all of which will be used to help SHEF promote and provide education opportunities with innovative programs and projects.
At this point, Rose said, SHEF has donated more than $835,000 to the school district for technology and other initiatives, including curriculum programs, teacher programs and more.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online until March 20.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to the foundation's website.