• Turning Up the Heat: CIA Chili Cook-Off

  • Turning Up the Heat: CIA Chili Cook-Off


    Author Carlos Dorantes ’25 is a Food Business Management major.


    Chili’s warmth, heartiness, and versatility, combined with seasonal ingredients, make it the ideal comfort food for cool, fall days. With the unmistakable aroma of simmering spices and simmering anticipation, our campus prepares for another annual Chili Cook-Off!

    To participate in the competition, CIA student competitors assembled a team of four, designating one member as the Team Captain. Staying within the allocated budget, they developed a chili recipe that incorporates at least one ingredient from the list of sponsors—preparing five hundred 2 oz. tastings and eight 8 oz. servings for the judges. Additionally, they must have a booth theme and a creative and engaging presentation, adding an element of fun!

    The chili entries were judged using a double-blind evaluation by a panel of qualified judges. Points were assigned based on these four major criteria: Taste and Aftertaste (40 points), Texture and Consistency (20 points), Creativity (20 points), and Aroma (20 points). The top three awards were determined using this 100-point scoring scale.

    First place went to team Holy Mole. Team Holy Mole distinguished itself with a remarkable twist on chili by infusing it with the classic flavors of Puebla Mole. Team Captain, Brandon Grillo ’25, shared their inspiration, stating, “Our aim was to pay homage to the rich history of mole, which was said to be invented by a nun, hence the fitting name ‘Holy Mole’.” They emerged as the victors, adding another chapter to the event’s history and reaffirming the power of culinary creativity and campus community participation.

  • Turning Up the Heat: CIA Chili Cook-Off
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