Faculty and staff bond with chili cook-off

Friday, February 1, our faculty and staff participated in their first chili cook-off as a bonding opportunity as well as to kick off Super Bowl weekend.

The competition started off during first period on Friday morning and ended later during sixth period. During nutrition and lunch, faculty and staff piled into the teachers’ cafeteria to try all the different chilis.

Co-planners art teacher Julie Neumann, EL teacher Lorig Topalian and math teacher Natalie Smith hoped to help the staff have fun and bond.

“Food brings people together and in an academically demanding school it’s nice for the teachers to have fun, and with the Super Bowl this weekend it’s perfect,” Neumann said.

The event brought teachers who normally spend their lunches in their rooms.

“It was different for teachers who don’t usually come into the teachers’ cafeteria at nutrition or lunch. It was a nice way to mingle and meet other members of the staff,” DHH interpreter Dusty Arel said.

The faculty and staff could vote on their favorites in two different categories: vegetarian and meat chilis.

“It was awesome to see all the variety in the chili. With vegetarian and vegan options, some with beans and some sauced based,” interpreter Megan Reed said.

The staff was not only able to showcase their cooking skills, but also their creativity in coming up with a name for their signature chili. Names such as “Mean Gene’s Chili Beans,” “Netflix and Chili” and “Non-Frilly White Chili” were some examples.

By the end of the day all the chili was gone, and more ideas for future activities came from the staff.

“We’re set on planning future events such as a non-gambling basketball event and Pre-Spring Break Luau for the teachers,” Smith said.

With all the amazing chili the staff tried, many spoke of having the chefs share their secret recipes, a great idea to bring the teachers together.

At the end of the day the vegetarian chili that won was “Great Bowls of Fire” made by special education teacher Caroline Mitchell. The best chili with meat was “No Name Chili,” created by dean James Vickers. The winners received a trophy handmade by Newman to showcase in their classroom or office until next year when another winner claims the prize.

Neumann, Smith and Topalian want to thank administrative director Jennifer DeCosta for working with them to hold this cook-off, and supporting their ideas for future events. Maybe a bake-off is in the near future for our staff.

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