Chefs heat up a ‘chili’ afternoon

Event spices up fundraising


HR Rep. Kathy Griffin serves LMCAS Advisor Demetria Lawrence her “Divine Swine’ chili. March 5, 2014. Photo By Cathie Lawrence.

The 9th Annual Chili Cook-Off presented by the Classified Senate ended with a repeat winner as Kathy Griffin’s green chili verde, called Devine Swine, took home the top honors for the second year in a row.

The classified senate has had a chili-cooking contest each of the last nine years to raise money for the scholarship fund and this year was a huge hit as all seven entrants ran out of chili in just over an hour after the contest began.

For the most part, all of the contestants had competed before with many of them having competed in all nine cook-offs.

In fact, there was only one entrant who had never competed before, Tammy Smith, and she was the only student entrant representing the Reading and Education Advance Dreams (R.E.A.D.) club.

“My significant other made a hot chili called Tio Lee’s Aloha Chili,” she said. She also contributed to the fundraising by donating fudge and rice crispy treats that she made. While it was Smith’s first time entering the contest, it was the clubs second time entering.

The star of the show, though, was Griffin, who fellow contestant Lisa McFarland called, “the queen of chili.”

Griffin has either won the whole competition, the people’s choice vote or placed in the top three in every single contest and this year was a clean sweep as she took top honors and the people’s choice vote.

The winning creation of the fan vote was a new creation by Griffin called Mustang Tailgaters Chili. “It has ground beef and hot Italian sausage in it and also all of the usual ingredients,” she said.

While her new creation won the popular vote, her chili verde stole the show winning the top honor. “It’s your standard pork chili verde and no beans. Lots of peppers, tomatillos, onions and hot peppers.”

The real story is that money was raised for the scholarship fund, all of the cooks sold out of chili and the contestants all know that is the real point of the competition.

Sylvia Benzler has entered every year, and while she used to be very competitive she now competes to contribute to the cause. “I’m just happy because it goes and people enjoy it and I get good feedback and it’s for a good cause,” she said.