Marketing Communication Ink

Tips on Marketing, Business, Careers & Life. Advertising on this site is placed by WordPress – I have NO control over it.

Become a Certified Chili Judge


Pot of Chili

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a tidy pile of certificates in classes ranging from Microsoft Word and Excel to PowerPoint and Outlook, from management training, communications and leadership to typesetting in Quark.

Most recently, I received a certificate in Digital Marketing, having graduated from Rutgers’ Center for Management Development’s mini-MBA program. That was an intensive program, with a standard semester’s 3-credit course compressed into one busy week.

It led me to wonder what other types of certificates might be out there. And just as I started wondering, I spotted an article in my local paper that grabbed my attention… 

The article said, in part:

“Certified Chili Judges Course

Fee: $95, includes a one-year membership in the International Chili Society

Who knew there was such a thing as a Certified Chili Judge?

Now, before you get excited about registering for this particular class, note that it appeared in the print edition of the Home News Tribune (article by Laura Martin; on Sunday Aug. 5, 2012, so the class has come and gone, though you can still certainly learn about becoming a certified chili judge by checking out the web ( Or, if you happen to live in New Jersey, you can contact the people who ran the local course at

That email goes to an International Chili Society (ICS) Grandmaster, Steve Falkowski, the 1997 winner of the association’s top honor, as well as winner of multiple other chili-making competitions across the country.

Steve and his wife Audrey, also a certified judge, tell me that the role as official ICS Judge comes without pay – it’s strictly voluntary. The ICS holds hundreds of chili cook offs each year, and the classes are intended to educate judges as to what is and is not ICS competition-grade chili. Any fees associated with taking the class are there simply to defray expenses. After all, good chili requires quality ingredients.

If you’re interested in learning more about chili competition and judging, there’s a great blog titled: “Stir But Don’t Touch: Learning to Judge for the International Chili Society” by Michael Molinaro, that originally appeared in

Just one word of advice…the classes are meant to teach judging, not cooking…so if it’s cooking you’re after, keep looking.

Continue to Learn Throughout Your Life

Although chili judging has nothing whatsoever to do with career or business, (the purported reason for this blog’s existence), I’ll simply point out that learning new information and skills should be a never-ending process throughout life. And, chili judging piqued my interest. Maybe it will spark yours, too.

Photo Credit: FiveRings at English Wikipedia


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