By Sarafina J Nimely –
What do teachers do all day? Well I can tell you one thing, they sure know how to whip up some delicious chili.
Jennifer Allen is the payroll secretary and member of the social committee called Social Links. She introduced the Chili Cook-Off to the staff and teachers for the first time this year.
At first getting other staff members to join was tough, but the cookoff ended up having 18 entries from different part of the faculty. These chili’s weren’t just tasty but had some unique name such as, Put This in Your Bowl and Eat it, by English teacher Nicole Barnes; Too Tasty for a Name, by IB Coordinator J.P. Caruso and, Plain Ol’ Chili, by Counselor Ann Brestel which had noodles in it. Paul’s Beanless Chili, was submitted by Special Education Teacher Kelly Chandler.
The first annual Chili cook off happened Friday November 20, 2016. It took place at Lincoln High teacher’s lounge. Allen wanted it to happen in there so that that the staff would all reunite in the lounge. She pointed out that some teachers eat together in their department versus meeting in the renovated faculty lounge. One of the goals of Social Links is to link up departments together so they can get a opportunity to socialize with other staff members they don’t normally see.
Those who entered brought homemade chili and set it out for others to taste and judge. The winners were given gift baskets that were donated by local vendors. A total of $370 worth of donations were given.
KirkWood Carpentry, a local business that takes recycled wood and makes custom furniture out of it, donated a gift card of $175. Barn Candle Company donated to all three baskets which contained 2 candles, a room spray, and 3 melting bricks. Nebraska Star Beef donated a jerky kit for each basket, signature seasoning and jerky strips to all three baskets. Sweets by Susan donated a bag of toffee to Grand prize basket. Baldridge Seasonings donated secret seasoning to all 3 basket. Herbal Gatherings donated spicy mustard Grand Prize Winner and regular mustard to Reserve Prize. Terra Bella Box donated some goat milk and honey lotion to the top two baskets.
There were three judges, former Lincoln High School principal Mike Wortman, Kevin Sjuts from 10/11 News who is the sports director and is married to one of our teachers, Michelle Sjuts. Matt Vincent who works with Patricia Oceria at Dozo Sushi was one of the judges also. They began using their judging skills during fifth period, and after tasting all 18 Chili’s they came to a conclusion.The grand prize winner went to the Attendance Secretary Karen Thacker. Her chili was called All for One & One for All. The name matches her ingredients. “I had 4 different kinds of beans , it had about four different kinds of vegetables, rotelli, garlic, onions, I put in ground turkey, ground beef, and ground italian sausage, and then spices and then two cheeses.” She was shocked that she won. “It was a biggy, “ she says.Virtuoso Vegetational Chili by Lori Rennings was the reserve champion winner. The People’s Choice award was voted by other teachers who tried the chili’s and voted based on how good the chili was or how creative the name were, and that went to Jennifer Allen with her Chili-Chili, Bang-Bang.