08:39 AM

Wanted: The Best Chili at UHD

Gators, Get Your Chilis on!

UHD’s Employment Services & Operations (ESO) will once again sponsor the annual UHD Chili Cook-Off. A family-friendly event, the Cook-Off is open to the entire UHD community with plenty of chili, delicious desserts, a live DJ, jumbo games, giveaways, face painting, line dancing, an amazing skyline view, ​​​and more! Join in the fun and tasting from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 28, on the South Deck

Attendees will vote for Best Décor and People's Choice Chili, while a panel of illustrious judges will award one hard-cooking team the title of Best Chili 2023.

Complimentary beer for the 21+ crowd will be provided by Saint Arnold ​Brewing Company beginning at 4 p.m. (Limit three beers per guest.)


Complimentary tasting tickets are available online for UHD employees until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 24, and include a chili tasting kit, a soft drink, and a dessert.​

Forming a Chili-Cooking Team

Sure, attending the Cook-Off is delicious fun, but even more fun is putting together a chili-cooking team to show off your Top Chef–worthy cooking prowess and win the coveted title of Best Chili 2023! 

All UHD community members are eligible to register a team—see important notes below. An optional interest meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 11, if you want to learn more about creating your own chili-cooking team.

Before You Register​

  • Team Requirements
    • Chili-cooking teams must have a minimum of five members. Teams may include more than five members, but the majority of team members must be UHD students, faculty, staff, alumni, or affiliated partners of the University.
    • UHD Food Safety Protocols have been updated and require each team to have at least one member to hold a Food Handler Certificate.​ Nominal fees are associated with obtaining these training certificates (options below), which are paid directly to the training provider (not UHD) and are at the expense of the applicant/organization.
    • Registered teams will receive a $50 H-E-B gift card for chili ingredients. All additional costs are the responsibility of the cooking team.
    • All chili-cooking team members must agree to abide by the event guidelines, which can be found in the registration packet provided at signup.
  • Registration 
    • ESO has reduced this year’s registration fee from $25 to $15 since all teams must now contain at least one member with a valid Texas food handler’s certificate
    • To register a chili-cooking team, you must: 
      • Submit a completed UHD 2023 Chili Cook-Off Application for the team and pay the non-refundable registration fee of $15 by 5 p.m.  Monday, April 17, to Gladis Moya in One Main Building, OMB S910.
      • Designate a team captain to attend a mandatory, in-person team meeting  from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25.
      • Obtain a valid food handler's certificate no later than the beginning of cooking on the day of the 2023 UHD Chili Cook-Off (more details will be available in the registration packet). 

Chili-Cooking Team Guidelines

  • The Chili Cook-Off setup will start at 8:30 a.m. on April 28.
  • Teams will be allowed to bring BEER only, NO liquor or wine.
  • Those 21 and over who choose to consume beer must obtain a wristband from the Chili Cook-Off Hospitality Tent.
  • Beer must be consumed within the South Deck. Individuals cannot walk outside the immediate event grounds with beer.
  • The following WILL NOT BE PERMITTED: glass bottles, kegs, drinking games, binge drinking, or devices intended to accelerate the consumption of alcohol.
  • All team members must be respectful of other participants, being particularly mindful of teams set up adjacent to your team’s space.
  • Music that is extremely loud or contains profane, explicit, or inappropriate lyrics will NOT be permitted.

Contest and Judging

Chili may win one of three awards:

  • Best Chili
  • People’s Choice Award
  • Best Décor

The panel of illustrious guest judges will begin tasting chili at 3:30 p.m. to determine Best Chili. Event attendees may vote on Best Décor and People's Choice Chili from 4 to 6 p.m.

UHD Employee Event Guidelines

For details about how to log time spent working at the Cook-Off, visit ESO’s website or contact Gladis Moya.

Best of luck to all teams! Those not joining a team, come out and support your Gator chefs!


Photo credit: HandmadePictures/ iStock

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.