September 25, 2020

BY CALEIGH MCLELLAND

Conestoga’s first chili cook-off raised $255 in support of the college’s 2012 United Way Campaign.

Individuals and groups each submitted a pot of chili on Oct. 22 to be judged by hungry members of the Conestoga community.

In total, 20 very unique chilies were available for tasting, from beef and pork to elk and vegetarian. There was also chili made with venison, moose, turkey and even a chili made with beef, cocoa and beer.

“I was looking for a combination of spices and meat,” said taste tester Rosie Hessian. “The organic chili had a really interesting taste, and the elk and venison had a really neat flavour, too.”

Pots were labelled with the type of chili and information about the ingredients used. Each chili was also labelled with a heat factor sign, so that judges knew what to expect before taking a bite.

And while most people were too full (or too afraid) to sample every kind of chili, Andrea McManus managed to try them all.

“I thought they were all good in the end, but there was one I remember most,” said McManus. “It’s all about the flavour.”

There was a minimum donation of $5 at the door, which got judges unlimited chili, as well as buns, cake and refreshments.

In the end, Ann Vignault’s southwestern beef chili won her the Ladle of Distinction.

Megan Gurton and Jillian Grant’s team, Chili Chili Bang Bang, took first runner-up.

“It’s a fun and different way to get involved and interact with employees,” said Grant. “Plus I like a little competition.”

Conestoga’s chili cook-off was one of the many events that contributed to the college’s United Way fundraising campaign.

Other events included Employee “Bingo for Baskets” and last week employees began their Pledge Card Campaign, which, according to Jennifer Lowes, member of the college’s United Way employee organizing committee, brings in the most funds.

This year staff and students are hoping to raise $50,000 by the end of the two-week campaign, which kicked off on Oct. 17.

For more information about the Kitchener-Waterloo United Way, or for other ways to donate to the organization once Conestoga’s campaign finishes this week, visit www.united-way-kw.org.