Chili cook off heats up Davenport
Posted April 18, 2008
Troy Doolittle
The Campus Activities Board hosted a chili cook fff on Tuesday in Davenport. Chili cook-off judge Michelle Ajemian congratulates Samantha Toia on her victory in the chili competition. “I was relieved when I won first place because my chili was the only entry in the competition, and if I didn’t win then I would have been worried about my cooking ability,” Toia said. Toia was awarded with a $30 gift certificate to Chili’s Restaurant and her chili will be served in Davenport.

Madison Steff
Managing Editor

A good bowl of chili can warm your mouth, your soul and pretty much everything in between.

On Tuesday the Campus Activities Board hosted a chili cook off in Davenport Dining Hall.

“I was looking online at all the crazy holidays and saw National Chili Month,” Claire Bodenhoefer, CAB games and recreation chair said. “It sounded like fun and I just thought we might as well do it this month.”

Traditionally National Chili Month is in October but regardless about 15 people gathered around a table in Davenport to taste some of Samantha Toia’s award winning chili.

Although Toia was the only participant at the event, her chili was still strictly critiqued by a panel of judges.

The cook-off judges included Barbara Mulligan, CAB adviser; Arron Neilson, general manager of Sodexo campus restaurants and Michelle Ajemian, CAB chair.

The chili was judged on presentation, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste.

When it come to presentation, chili should look appetizing and be presented well in the bowl.

The aroma should smell good and indicate what is in store when you taste it.

The consistency of the chili should have a good ratio between meat and sauce and should not be dry, watery, grainy, lumpy or greasy.

The taste above all is the most important factor.

It should be consistent of a combination of the meat, spices and whatever else included with no particular ingredient being dominant.

As for the aftertaste or bite is judged by the heat created by the various types of spices or peppers.

“I was looking for some good heat that had a good chili flavor,” Neilson said.

Toia, a senior philosophy major, loves to cook but has never attempted chili before and used this opportunity to test her skills.

“I looked up the basic ingredients and just went for it,” Toia said. “I didn’t want to make it too fancy.”

The chili consisted of black beans, pinto beans, beef, jalapenos, habaneros, garlic and tomatoes.

Toia won a $30 gift certificate to Chili’s Restaurant and her prize-winning chili will be served in Davenport.

“We’ll give it a shot and get feedback from the students,” Neilson said.
Bodenhoefer was hoping to make this a yearly event so dust off those cook books and start practicing so next time there will be a more fierce competition, or at least a competition at all.

Madison Steff can be reached at

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