Prior to and since 1972 when George Phelps first got on the Cincinnati Fire Department, he had a love for chilies, spicy foods, and cooking, and this expanded through his 33 years in the fire service. Geo’s father, Carl “See”Phelps, was also a firefighter with Cincinnati, and would cook for his family “Firehouse Style Cooking” quite often, so it became a natural transition for Geo to do the same. Quite often his family would have to remind Geo that he wasn’t cooking for the firehouse, so he would try cut back the quantity, but there were always leftovers.
Throughout his career, Geo would help out with various charitable events and fundraisers, and this later in his career started moving into Chili Cooking Contests to raise money for local charities across the country. Geo started cooking on his own in a small booth, but then his son, daughter, brother, and all of their friends joined in the efforts and formed a loosely organized group of cooks called “Chili Rockers”. It got to the point at times where the Chili Rockers came close to outnumbering the number of other cooks, and even formed a corral of cook booths with his son’s rock band in the middle performing between stirring the pots.
Geo’s love for cooking and everything spicy expanded to include numerous visits to the ICS World Chili Championships across the country, and other cook-offs and became known for elaborate decorations of the booths, and won many 1st Place Trophies for the efforts. In one event in a remote area along the Colorado River on the California/ Arizona border, Geo came with two large suitcases weighing about 50 pounds each with 99% decorations and cooking equipment and minimal personal items (spent a lot of time in laundry mats) to win 1st Place at the event for Best Booth. Everyone was amazed at the amount of decorations that poured out of the suitcases from Ohio to add color to their event.
Geo was forced to retire from the Fire Service after 30 plus years due to multiple injuries and numerous surgeries, so it was time to start a new phase of life with expanding his dream of cooking chilies, marketing sauces, and hopefully someday marketing the CHILI ROCKS concept around the world as franchises. The CHILI ROCKS artwork was designed by Geo to provide for future expansion by putting any city or cause in the lower pepper but started out with CHILI ROCKS CINCINNATI, OH. From there while preparing for a trip to the World Chili Championship in Las Vegas, NV, Geo designed the second logo with CHILI ROCKS LAS VEGAS NV. It was on this trip that Geo realized that the logo design was perfect for franchising because of all the attention the design got. By wearing nothing but Chili Rocks T’s and polos on the plane, in the hotel, along the strip, and at the cookoff, numerous people were asking about my restaurant chain. Many came up to me days later saying that they searched the entire Strip, and could not find CHILI ROCKS anywhere. So that is when we realized that CHILI ROCKS THE WORLD!
We started finding people from cities across the country on air flights and on vacations, and with the purchase of four logo items, they could have CHILI ROCKS ANYWHERE T’s and other products. On a flight to Florida, Geo was in 1st class with a man from Salt Lake City who loved the design, so we now had CHILI ROCKS SALT LAKE CITY UT. While trying to get on a cooking show based out of Toronto, we developed the CHILI ROCKS TORONTO ONT. During a Fire Fighter Exchange to Munich Germany, Geo made up shirts with CHILI ROCKS MUNICH GER. We currently have approximately 40 designs covering most of the continents around the world with the CHILI ROCKS logo, so the CHILI ROCKS IN MY MIND continues to grow. So, if you are interested in having your own city on one of our shirts, just contact Geo and we can make it happen with just purchasing four logo items.
Someday, it is still our hope and dream to officially open our first stand alone restaurant, CHILI ROCKS BAR & GRILL. But until then, we are in numerous locations around the Greater Cincinnati area selling our Chilies, Hot Sauces, BBQ Sauces, Wing Sauces, Spicy Mustards, Salsas, Steak Sauces, and more to come! If you know of any retail outlets in your part of the world that may be interested, please contact us and we will try to make it happen!
Respectfully submitted, Geo
George Phelps, Owner & Founder of CHILI ROCKS, LLC
Retired Cincinnati Fire Fighter