For the past sixteen years, the Geology Department has hosted a chili cook-off where students and professors alike can show off their chili-making skills. If chili isn’t your thing, there’s also a dessert and side dish portion of the judging.
The event has been run by geology professor Peter Riemersma since the beginning. He said that he brought the idea over from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He loves that the event gives faculty and students the ability to interact in an informal environment.
Though this year had a smaller turn out than previous events, the chili-makers still came to play. There were a total of five chilis, three desserts and one side dish. Two of the chilis were even vegan.
Overall, everyone who submitted a dish received an award in one category or another. The awards, each shaped like a different type of pepper, were created by Kevin Cole, another professor in the Geology department.
Students, along with a panel of chefs, tasted all of the chilis and voted for their favorites in a variety of categories, including, best student, hottest, best vegan and best overall. There was even a category for “Most Geological Dessert”.
Everyone who visited the contest got a sticky name tag to wear. In addition to their names, the name tags boasted a variety of fun fact topic starters. Some of the pre-written facts include: likes dogs, dreams in a foreign language, has been in handcuffs, and knows the first 10 digits of pi.
For the first time since the event started, they ran out of chili before the awards were announced.
Cole submitted two of the five chilis in the contest, where he won awards for “Most Popular” and “Hottest Chili.”
“Three bites (into the hottest chili) and the vibration starts, tears start after bite five.” said Devon Balint, a geology major and chili enthusiast.
Rhian Williams was the only student that entered a chili into the contest. Though she was beaten out for best vegan chili, Williams won “Best Student Chili” by a landslide.
Riemersma also took home the trophy for “Best Overall” chili, which greatly surprised him. In previous years, there had been enough competitors that the coordinator of the event hadn’t gotten an award.
Overall, the event was a success and the Geology department is looking forward to an even bigger competition next February.