2023 Homecoming Chili Cookoff was big crowd pleaser
A total of 19 ambitious culinary teams turned up the fires for UST-Houston’s annual Homecoming Chili Cookoff on Nov. 9. Wielding large ladles, mounds of beans and meat, and shakers of cayenne on the Campus Life Mall, they dished out bowls of steaming chili to judges and a discerning crowd of more than 500 attendees.
Team Names as Hot as Their Chili
Teams sought to satisfy with their recipes and dazzle with team names like Chef Barbies & Ken (representing the School of Education and Human Services), Dolla Dolla Chills Y’all (Business Office), La Katrinas (Dining Services), Red Hot Chili Crookers (Career Services Center), Chili Dawgs (Women’s Soccer), Spice Girls (UST Spirit), To Bean or Not to Bean (Athletics Administration), and Chili Dei (Viri Dei).
Mr. UST for 2023, Calvin Nguyen, led the Chili Cookoff Committee along with other Campus Life staff members. The committee helped organize the event and provided support for the competing teams.
“The atmosphere was amazing!” Nguyen said. “Seeing students, staff and faculty come together to share a day of community-building competition and great chili was exciting.”
The Judging and Prizes
Nguyen explained teams were judged on taste as well as decorating.
“For chili, it was all about taste, texture and presentation,” he said. “For decorating, judges gave grades on creativity, skill and appearance.”
Winners took prizes in five categories with the Filipino Student Association making a solid showing:
· Best Overall – Filipino Student Association
· Runner Up – Mental Health Advocates
· Chef’s Choice – To Bean or Not Bean
· Most Spirited – Filipino Student Association
· People’s Choice – Filipino Student Association
All winners received plaques, and Best Overall and Chef’s Choice took home golden ladles!
The panel of judges was comprised of Arthur Ortiz, Lee Holm, Karen Bautista, and Leslie Bennett. In addition, Dining Services’ Chef Felix determined Chef’s Choice, and attendee voting decided People’s Choice.
A Great Time and Community Building Are the Outcomes
Cookoff goers enjoyed sunny skies before the rain, but the chill made it more like chili weather!
Nguyen highlighted the importance of this annual crowd pleaser, saying, “The most important thing about the Chili Cookoff is the community effort that comes with making the event a success. Yes, the committee works hard to prepare, but it would not be possible without the efforts of all the teams showing up and giving it their all.”
Nguyen loves it so much; he is already thinking about next year.
“The committee wants to see you at next year's cookoff. Everyone, from student groups, academic departments, and even alumni is welcome to sign up to compete! Everyone has so much fun seeing who competes every year, and we love to see teams get competitive and excited for one another!”