Nothing says Super Bowl Sunday like eating a bowl full of cow heart chili while surrounded by people yelling for their favorite football team in a blur of gold, green and yellow.
On Feb. 6, Bottom of the Hill held its third annual “Heavy Metal Cook-off and Stuporbowl Party.” The event involved a chili cook-off competition accompanied with a rock and heavy metal playlist including such bands as Electric Light Orchestra, Kelley Stoltz and Creedence Clearwater Revival, all in preparation for a showing of Superbowl XLV.
Lynn Schwarz, 40, one of Bottom of the Hill’s four owners, said that they are normally a venue for mainly music, but events like this provide variety.
“It’s a change from three-band rock and roll starting at nine or ten,” Schwarz said. “It’s a completely different departure for us.”
In a “first-come, first-serve style” contest, competitors brought their own unique recipes from all over the city to first be analyzed by a panel of four judges as well as the audience. The competition involved two separate categories: best tasting chili and best heavy metal chili-cooking name. The contestants included everyone from chili-cooking veterans to students.
SF state senior and sociology major Jesse Edwards, 23, made his first visit to the competition with his creation that he named “Brewcifers Nautical Nightmare.”
“’Brew’ because it has beer, ‘nautical’ because it has seafood in it, and ‘nightmare’ because honestly, it’s no sweet dream,” Edwards said.
Edwards said that he’d been practicing different chili recipes for a week but that he had only been working with this current recipe for eight to nine hours before submitting it in the competition.
Another competitor, Scott Johnson, who has worked at Bottom of the Hill for almost five years, named his chili “CrockBlock,” a play on the famous slow cooker traditionally used for cooking chili. He won an honorable mention award in the popular vote of best metal name and best tasting, and third place in the judge’s choice of best tasting chili.
“I’m so excited, I love cooking chili,” Johnson said while preparing for the competition. “I have a loose recipe but I generally have the same kind of things, though I have changed up several things for the competition.”
Schwarz said that this sort of event portrayed all the devotion that the staff has toward the venue and each other. With longtime staff members rushing back and forth to cook food, set up music and even cook their own chili, she loved the energy.
“The people that work here, we’re a really close knit group that have all worked here for a long time,” Schwarz said. “Everyone here has a great love for each other, sports and this club in particular.”
Even some of the spectators said that this event was something that brought life to the city with its plentiful spread and boisterous atmosphere.
“It’s great to be here, it’s really chill,” said SF State alumnus Andrew O’Neill. “Beer, free food, and a beautiful (expletive) Sunday, really cool.”
By the end of the event, one of the big winners of the day was Bottom of the Hill security guard and sometimes bartender Brian “Bubba” Magnuson. His chili titled “B-fart,” short for “beef heart,” took the prize for people’s choice of best metal name and the judge’s first place prize for best tasting chili. Magnuson said it felt great to be a winner.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Magnuson said after winning. “I’ve been making chili for years now and finally won.”
Magnuson has competed in the chili cook-off all three years, last year getting an honorable mention from the judges. This is the first contest in which he has placed.
Schwarz said that she hopes that the success of the present will translate to future success.
“I just think it’s going to be here ‘til we close our doors for good,” Schwarz said. “I plan on doing this as long as it’s fun.”