A Brief History & Outline
David Veljacic inaugurated The Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ in 1987. He was a Captain with the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service and Vancouver’s Firefighter of the Year in 1997. David, together with his wife Pat, ran this annual event until 2000 when Pat passed away. David passed on the same day in 2001 after battling breast cancer. The Festival is also known as the David and Pat Veljacic Memorial Cookoff.
David was a chef and a pioneer on the competition chili and BBQ circuit. In 1999 he published The Fire Chef, a collection of grilled and “low and slow” barbecue recipes. Hot Elements and In a Flash were other cookbooks he authored. David was also one of the first to market his own brands of BBQ sauces.
Fred Roycroft, Dave McKay and Wayne Fettback – Producers
Fred Roycroft met the Veljacics in 1989, a year after he started cooking competition Texas chili. They became instant and very close friends. Together they were the original Canadian members of The Pacific Northwest BBQ Association – our sanctioning body. Fred has organized many chili competitions over the years and originated The Canadian International Chili Championships in 1990. Fred took over producing The Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ in 2000 in honour of his friends David and Pat Veljacic.
Dave McKay became involved in BBQ after seeing a poster for the Festival in a local restaurant in 1994 and decided to cover the event for BCTV News. Enthralled with the event, the people, the food and inspired by David Veljacic’s passion for real southern chili and BBQ, Dave started competing the next year!
Wayne Fettback went to take in a BBQ competition in 2001 to find out what Southern BBQ was all about. As a trained chef he also was inspired. He asked the cooks a lot of questions and it was their openness and encouragement that pushed him to learn more. He started competing the next year and The Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ was his first competition venue. Raising sponsorship monies and keeping low registration fees are his drivers. For him it is all about the cooks.
In 2010 The Canadian Chili and BBQ Society was registered under the Society Act of British Columbia. Since this is a not-for-profit organization the producers do not receive any proceeds or remuneration from the Festival. They are, however, fierce competitors in the event as well as organizers, and are proud to continue the tradition of one of the most established and highest-purse BBQ competitions in the West.
Most recently The Canadian Festival of Chili and BBQ has been sponsored by Cascades Casino, Coast Hotel and Convention Center in historic downtown Langley, BC and we are pleased to confirm our competition will be held there for the fourth year in June 2014. The Festival has been hosted at various notable locations over the years, including the New Westminster Quay Public Market, The Days Inn and BC Place Stadium in conjunction with Eat Vancouver.