Cook-off serves up funds for the heartAn inter-office rivalry was settled, raffles were drawn and $640 was raised for the American Heart Association during a collaborative chili cook-off event at the Government Center in Superior Thursday. Whether they snagged a prize or not, those who attended the joint city/county event left satisfied.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
An inter-office rivalry was settled, raffles were drawn and $640 was raised for the American Heart Association during a collaborative chili cook-off event at the Government Center in Superior Thursday. Whether they snagged a prize or not, those who attended the joint city/county event left satisfied.
“It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful,” said Kim Gralewski, with the city planning office.
“There’s not a bad one here,” said Fred Linder, administrator of the Douglas County Jail, as he tasted cup after cup of chili.
Dan Shea, with the city’s IT department, said the selections were “awesome.”
In all, 15 cooks squared off for the chili crown. The fare included heart-healthy choices made with ground turkey or beans as well as richer recipes like the chili cream cheese chicken, which disappeared quickly. There were also a number of spicy selections, from Wa-Hoo Chili made with venison to Fat Tire Chili, flavored with beer “and some other stuff.”
Some of the recipes mixed sweet and spicy, others went for a hot punch. Donee Cain’s “Give it a Sec” chili appeared fairly mild until a delayed burst of spices kicked in.
“This is the hottest batch I’ve made by far,” said the county employee, who made sure to bring cornbread for tasters to cool it down with.
Those who attended the event agreed, voting Cain’s chili the spiciest. Jessica Grammond, with the county health and human services department, snagged the prize for most heart-healthy recipe with her turkey chili. And the best presentation award went to Cheryl La Gesse for Shotgun Willie’s Famous Killer Chili. The pot of chili was surrounded by bowls of chopped onions, cheese and sour cream, bottles of spices and a picture of the man who created the recipe, La Gesse’s father, lumberjack Willie Hanson.
This is the second time Willie’s killer chili earned a top slot. La Gesse said the last time the city and county held a joint chili cook-off, about six years ago, it was named number one. She had been hinting that her recipe would earn gold again, said Cain. The two cooks work together in the county child support office, and Cain had implied that a rookie entry might nab the crown this year. As it turned out, they were both right.
“They’re actually all good,” said Jean Dotterwick, with the city finance department. “And I can’t believe how much is being raised for the American Heart Association.”
Mixing city and county employees together for food and fundraising was also a recipe for closer connections.
“There are so many of us in this building that we don’t know each other except to see a face going up the elevator,” Dotterwick said.
The cook-off allowed city and county employees to intermingle and have fun with a touch of competition thrown in, said Mary Chialastri, with the county’s health and human services department.
“It’s a chance to see people that you don’t see on a daily basis,” said fellow health and human services employee Lynn Stringer.
Gralewski, one of the organizers of the cook-off, said more such events are on tap. They plan to hold a joint city and county get-together every quarter, each one raising funds for another good cause.