2023 -Bubba and Cha Cha’s Chili Pub and Watering Hole Salsa

by Veni Miller


My head is still in the clouds, and the win continues to sink in. I am humbled beyond words, but I can honestly say I am honored and proud to be part of “The Club” of a select few. This is a memory that will stay with me for a lifetime. My girlfriend, who had competed before and came up with the team’s name, introduced me to the ICS in 2009. My first competition was in St. George Island, Florida. It was a fantastic weekend that started off leisurely but ignited what has become a passion. My idea of a winning pot was very different from the winners. It was a wake-up call that if I was going to do this, I needed to take it seriously, so off to the “Chili Lab” I went. I started with Red and quickly ventured into the other categories. I am fortunate to have had success along the way. My first ICS win was Red at the Palmetto State in South Carolina in 2015. That win started a string of wins where I have been fortunate enough to earn a few Hat Tricks and a couple quad qualifiers along the way. It afforded me the opportunity to attend the WCCC for the last seven years, where I was able to make the finals table a few times in Salsa and Verde. Like many of my fellow chili heads, I plan my vacations around cook-offs. Winning a cook-off is an amazing feeling but what keeps me coming back are the friends I’ve made along this journey, the atmosphere, and the memories. Hardware is just icing on the cake. Until winning Salsa, my most significant success was pulling off the Quintuple in 2020/2021 (I won five categories at a State or Regional in a single season). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the wins keep coming. I owe my success in no small part to my fellow “chili heads.” They are the friendliest, most helpful people you will ever meet. No one cook will tell you everything, but all will tell you something you can string together to help your chances. When I’m not in front of a stove, I am home with my family, probably smoking some BBQ or getting some much-needed wind therapy on my Harley.


6-8 Roma tomatoes (seeded and diced)
3 diced jalapeno’s peppers (remove stems and seeds)
5 diced serrano peppers (remove stems and seeds)
1 diced small yellow pepper (remove seeds)
1 diced small orange pepper (remove seeds)
1 small onion
1/2 small red onion
1 bunch green onions
2 T lime juice
1 T cilantro
1 T honey
1/2 T olive oil
4 oz mild tomato sauce
4 oz hot tomato sauce
Cayenne seasoning
Granulated garlic


Cut up the tomato and dice the vegetables. Combine them with remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasonings to taste.