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Big Appetite. Big Competitions. Big Attitude...Big Bite. A blog about food, food battles, and how food rules everything around me. F.R.E.A.M.!

Philly Chilly Bowl 2015 Recap

Did you miss the Philly Chili Bowl this year or DO YOU miss the Philly Chili Bowl already? Let’s revisit that great chili-tastic day!! Thank you to all of our judges, sponsors, performers and long-time supporters and congratulations to all of the winners!!

Hat’s off to Kap Rapoza for this awesomely crafted video! Thanks homie!!

-Team BigBite

PhillyChilliBowl2015SPONSORED BY:

Di Bruno BrosCornbread Logo_Final

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Ukrainian Club (aka Ukie Club) (map)
847 N. Franklin Street. Philadelphia, PA 19123
2:00 pm for contestants; 3:00 pm doors open

If you’ve been to a BigBite Philly event, then you know we are going to bring the heat! Join us for the Sixth Annual Philly Chili Bowl! Twenty-five competitors will get to showcase their culinary skills in front of Philly notable restaurants chefs, critics, and chili friends!

$10 ($15 at the door) to enter, eat, and judge the People’s Choice round.
$15 for single entry or $20 (for teams of 2)
Free entry if you bring a homemade pie. Details here.

Joncarl Lachman
 –  Chef, NOORD eetcafe
Drew LazorFreelance Food & Drink Writer/Editor
Roberta Pipito  Blogger, Homemade Delish
Mason WartmanOwner, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza
Jennifer Zavala  Top Chef alumn, Chef of Cherrybomb Bus, and host of Scrapple Internet TV
Reef the Lost Cause
DJ Philly Phil
Cheese Bar Provided By
Di Bruno Bros.
Cornbread Bar By
KRN.BRD formally known as Cornfed Cornbread
Entertainment By
South Street Magic

Entry Requirements:
1. Complete entry form and payment
2. Each individual/team will cook 6 (or more) quarts of chili
3. Each individual/team will serve their own chili recipes to the general public
4. All chili must be made from scratch before the event and cooked entirely
5. Teams are limited to 2 people per team

Click here to compete!
(25 entries only!)

Purchase tickets!!

*venue not handicapped accessible 

Philly Chili Bowl 2015 Judges!

We are so thrilled to have this group of expert judges for the 6th Annual Philly Chili Bowl!  Get to know the judges who will crown the 2015 Philly Bowl winner!!


Joncarl Lachman,
Chef/Owner, NOORD eetcafe

After years of following his passions for travel (33 countries) and linguistics (4 languages), Joncarl Lachman turned to settling down and achieving a life long goal of restaurant ownership.

A graduate of New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education, Lachman was the winner of the inauguaral “San Pelligrino Almost Famous Chef” Award in 2002. He has worked under the tutelage of Nora Pouillon (Washington DC “Restaurant Nora”) and in NYC, Anne Rosenzweig (of Arcadia and Lobster Club) who remains a trusted friend and mentor.

In 2005 he opened HB Home Bistro, a Michelin Ranked New American Restaurant in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. In 2010, he  opened his second restaurant Vincent, where he was able to express his love for his Dutch heritage and serve modern takes on the cuisines of Amsterdam.

Returning to his hometown of Philadelphia has always been in the plans. In late spring of 2013 he opened NOORD eetcafe, an homage to classic Northern European bistrofare with an extensive smoked fish program.

Next up is a new bar/bistro in the Italian Market. Stay tuned!

Drew2013 Drew Lazor,
Freelance Food & Drink writer

Moving into his six year of judging both the Philly Chili Bowl and Wing King, Drew is one of our most beloved judges!

A native Marylander based in Philly, Drew Lazor covers food, drink, movies and music locally and nationally contributing to local food reads such as Serious Eats, City Paper, Philadelphia InquirerPhiladelphia Daily News, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler and recently Lucky Peach Magazine.

Most recently, Drew was a contributor for the hot new German cookbook, New German Cooking, released along with Philly chef, Jeremy Nolan of Brauhaus Schmitz! Grab a copy! It’s a beautiful book, and interestingly, the most recent German cookbook released in years!

Welcome back Drew!


Roberta Pipito Blogger,

Roberta Pipito is a home chef, food, beer and wine connoisseur, and blogger. Her lifelong passion for cooking led her to create her blog in 2011. The name “Homemade Delish” seemed fitting for this Philadelphia wife and mother of two who takes pride in being the daughter of a professional baker.

Coming from a long line of family cooks in Brazil and descendants of Italy, she enjoy the science behind food as well as the taste.  Being able to speak Portuguese and English has allowed Roberta to step over an ethnic line for a wider audience; and range of creativity. Homemade Delish displays some of her recipes, her love for wine, beer and photography, and covers a variety of events. With creativity and imagination, you can style anything to your taste.”

Rosa's Fresh Pizza owner Mason Wartman, a former Wall Street equity researcher, makes a pizza in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaMason Wartman,
Owner, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza

Mason Wartman, once a Wall Street stock researcher, found his calling of starting his own business after feeling like his job had plateaued.

He moved to Philly and opened Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, named after his mother. Using the simple buck-a-slice business model, he simultaneously also launched a pay-it-forward program.

Mason Wartman, insures that for each piece of pizza purchased at Rosa’s, one slice is donated to the homeless. So if you buy a pie (8 slices/$8) Rosa’s will sit 8 slices on the counter for homeless members of our community, sometimes 40 a day, to walk in and pick up a slice at no cost! The concept of paying for others’ pizza ahead of time started when a customer wanted to buy a slice for someone in need and wrote it on a a post-it note. Today, post-it notes cover the walls inside the shop from patrons wishing those in need some words of encouragement.

BigBite Philly is proud to support this forward-thinking mission and will be donation a portion of the Philly Chili Bowl proceeds to Rosa’s.

ZavalaJennifer Zavala,
Top Chef alumn, Chef of Cherrybomb Bus, and host of Scrapple Internet TV

A chef hat is not the only hat Jennifer Zavala, former Bravo’s Top Chef alumn, wears.  Jen dabbles in many things – all with one common theme – food. She has worked in several notable Latin-driven restaurants and gastropubs in Philly before launching her own food truck, CherryBomb Bus.

Jen has also been part of several local and unique food events including Hen’s Revenge, a female-focused industry night, pop-ups at Garage Philly (with food-themes like “Roseanne”), and most recently will be working on the High-End Cuisine TV show on Scrapple internet TV, an online TV show which Jen is also a host for.

Note: Scrapple TV will be at Philly Chili Bowl taping live!

Di Bruno Bros. Returns as Cheese Bar Sponsor

We can not express how excited we are to have Di Bruno Bros. return (for the fourth year) as a Philly Chili Bowl Cheese Bar sponsor!


It all started in 2012 when 3rd generation Di Bruno Bros. owner – Emilio Mignucci joined us on the judging panel. We fed him 25 chili’s at the 2012 Philly Chili Bowl and he handled it with grace. Not only did he agree to endure masses of flavors and heat-level’s, but he also hooked it up with a Di Bruno Bros. Cheese Bar to compliment the numerous styles of chili offered!

This year Di Bruno Bros. returns with a very exciting Cheese Bar to pair with the wacky chili’s of 2015.  Be warned, it’s going to be an awesome bar, all thanks to the king of cheese!

BigBite is KRNBRD krazy!

Cornbread Logo_Final

We are so thankful to have KRNBRD, in the kitchen baking up that golden brown goodness to accompany the chilis of Philly Chili Bowl 6.  Crafted in West Philly, KRNBRD head, Kinshasa Hunter (Philly Chili Bowl 3 alum) got her hands on ma duke’s cornbread recipe, and tweaked the hell outta that jawn!  She added some new flavors, extra love, deleted the vowels, and BOOM! KRNBRD was born!

This isn’t a dried out, 50¢ Jiffy Corn Muffin remix either. KRNBRD has that buttery, sweet, fluffyness – and still maintains that dense grittiness you look for when you take a bite.

With loaves going for cheap, (only $6! with free local delivery!) KRNBRD is the taste you’ll want to accompany your slab of barbecue ribs this summer. Orders can be placed via email at or phone 717-983-8690.

Make sure you snag a slice, or two, with your chili at Philly Chili Bowl this Saturday, March 14th!

Cotton Candy Circus Arts: Adding a Little Sweet to the Savory


Spending many hours juggling flavors and walking the tight rope of not-spicy-enough to just-right, our Philly Chili Bowl competitors are not clowning around this year. However, we know some awesome folks that will help bring a little levity to this years savory circus.

The Cotton Candy Circus Arts has amazing roster of local circus-style performers including aerialists, jugglers, hoolahoopers, skaters, stilt walkers and any other kind of acrobat that you could imagine. Bringing our chili-bowlers some physical magic this year, the group will be flexing some new acro-performance routines. What exactly is acro-performance? Well, you will have to come see for yourself, won’t you? Just know that its not easy.


Up-close Magic at Philly Chili Bowl 6

When we look at Philly Chili Bowl winners of years past, we always ask – what was in that winning chili??? They were always so tasty and so delightful that one would even think that the cooks  cooks added a touch of genius and a dash of magic.

This year we’re going to bring a dab of magic ourselves. We welcome to the 6th Annual Philly Chili Bowl, Mervant the Magician!  

“Mervant” is a Philadelphia-based magician and mentalist who has been involved in the underground close-up magic scene since 2008.

His expertise in sleight of hand and mentalism has generated opportunities for him to perform in a wide range of venues and has lead to him sharing the stage with artists such as The Reno 911 live comedy show and singer/songwriter, Sean Kingston.

Mervant currently specializes in performing close-up magic and his style of magic gives spectators of all ages the opportunity to witness up-close miracles that leave audiences captivated, all while enjoying a few laughs.

Grab some chili, grab a beer, and get ready to be mesmerized by the magic!

Have Your Pi and Eat it Too!!!


By now, you should know that Saturday, March 14th, 2015 is the 6th Annual BigBite Philly Chili Bowl, and its going down.

For those foodies who like a little nerdiness with their foodieness, they may even know that March 14th is Albert Einstein’s birthday!

But the real ride-or-die, full-blown nerds know that March 14th is National Pi Day! That’s right, Pi is observed on 3/14 – since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π in decimal form – and will be celebrated at museums, in classrooms, and in math loving brains all around the US.

A quick refresher: Pi is defined as the distance around a perfect circle, or the circumference, divided by the distance across it, or the diameter. Throughout history, people have been captivated by this number because there is no way to calculate it exactly by a simple division on your calculator. What’s more interesting is that its digits go on infinitely, without any pattern in the numbers. 3.1415926535897932…, etc.

What’s cool about this year is that because its 2015 we get two more digits than usual in the date. 1 and 5 actually get us a day that is a slightly more accurate version of Pi (we’re geeking out right now, sorry).

Now to the point: Conveniently, “Pi” sounds like “pie” and pies are round. In short, foodies, nerds and everyone in between will win when there is pie on Pi day.

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With that said, all hungry smarty pants are welcome to this unique special at Philly Chili Bowl: Anyone who brings a homemade fruit pie, pizza pie, or pot pie to this year’s Philly Chili Bowl will not have to pay a cover! That’s right, free entry* if you observe Pi(e) Day and bring a homemade (key word) pie!!

We look forward to seeing how creative you nerds get!

See you on Saturday!


*one pie per person

PS3 Plays No Games, Just Good Music

Philly has a wealth of talent in all artistic genres. That said, we make it a point to support as many different artists as possible at each event.

This year, we are providing you with the grooviest soundscape for your chili-eating shenanigans – we have the big homie PS3. Known for eclectic, international and back-pack grooves that pack Bob and Barbara’s every Friday night, PS3 is vet in the Philadelphia musical arts. Whether promoting salsa concerts for renowned bands, to providing marketing acumen to the Painted Bride Art Center and other local arts organizations, PS3 is a multi-talented man about town and we are super excited to have him lending a hand…and an ear to this years Philly Chili Bowl’s 1’s and 2’s.

While you unwind after work or get in your creative zone while cutting veggies for your chilli, rock out to PS3’s Pura Vida Soundcloud above.

No Meat, but Lots of Hart!

BigBite Philly can sometimes be purists about how we define chili. According to Webster’s:

“Chili is a spicy dish made of ground beef, hot peppers or chili powder, and usually beans.”

For the most part, our competitors stand by this definition, but they also rock out with a long list of other ingredients and other fun variables. Mixed into the competition are a few awesome vegetarian chilis and for veggie chefs, the last thing we want to do is exclude any yumminess. We all understand that there are plenty of health benefits to moderating our meat intake (although that’s not a strength of ours).

Of our many past vegetarian entrants, one in particular has been sooo tasty that even some of the most seasoned carnivores were fooled by her meticulously simulated “meatiness”. Back by popular demand, Saidah Hart aka the Veggie Virtuoso aka the Spawn of Seitan will compete in her 4th BigBite Philly Chili Bowl – exhibiting yet another meatless masterpiece!! Come be mystified, give her a run for her money with your own batch of chili, learn her secrets and taste the magic that might make you meat-eaters reconsider!!