Chili Cook Off raises money for charity

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 29, 2013

Concert Board member Brady Gross serves vegan chilli at the United Way Chilli Cook Off on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at the UAF Wood Center.  Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star

Concert Board member Brady Gross serves vegan chilli at the United Way Chilli Cook Off on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 at the UAF Wood Center. Annie Bartholomew/Sun Star

The Student Activities Office raised $900 for charity from chili last Wednesday at the annual United Way Chili Cook Off.

This is the third year SAO has been hosting the Cook Off, a fun event for campus organizations to compete for the title of best chili while raising money for the United Way of the Tanana Valley.

This year, the Three Amigos from the Latin American Student Organization won first place at the Cook Off.

The International Arctic Research Center came in second place, followed by the Fire Department, the previous first place chili champions.

The Three Amigos chili was a modified family recipe that Psychology Grad student Angel Vasquez and Social Work students Jessica Calderon and Juan Cruz made five gallons of for the cook off.

Organizations were instructed to bring three to five gallons of chili to the cook off.

The Three Amigos were glad they erred on the side of caution. Their organization was one of the few groups that didn’t run out of chili early in the cook off.

Their strategy was to keep the chili spicy enough, but not so hot that you couldn’t taste the flavors, Vasquez said. Many groups were aiming to hit this happy medium.

“You gotta keep it spicy enough, but still flavorful,” said Rita Murphy from the Statewide group who won the chili competition at the Alaska state level.

Other organizations drew their took different approaches.

The inspiration for the LIVE Office’s chili was Taco Bell and Wendy’s, said History Student Lauren Ramirez.

The LIVE Office included hot sauce on the side, to meet the spice needs of every customer, said Justice student Mamie Davis.

While their chili didn’t place, it made Cook Off goers who weren’t as fond of lots of spicy flavors happy.

“It’s a great cause,” Ramirez said. “It’s an easy lunch.

You get the students involved with your organizations, and students can contribute to United Way.”

Students attending the cook off could get a sample for $1, or 12 samples for $10. Last year, the organization raised around $1,000 dollars and were aiming for the same amount this year.

“After all, everybody loved chili,” said SAO Student Worker and Business student Dani Atkins.

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