To celebrate Groundhog’s Day, Mercyhurst College’s Campus Ministry and Human Resource departments presented the annual Chili Cook-off.
The event, now in its sixth year, took place Feb. 2 and encouraged the college community to come and “Phil up their Bowl” with several varieties of chili.
Tickets cost 25 cents to taste a chili sample, and participants voted for their favorites.
The contest was broken into four categories: Best Traditional, Best Hot and Spicy, Most Unique Ingredient and Best Vegetarian. A trophy was given for The Best Chili on the Hill for the chili with the most overall votes.
Sixteen chefs from different areas on campus made chili for others to taste and judge. Although no students entered the contest this year, several students from groups like WMCE took part in the cooking.
“It took us a day to research our chili and choose a white chicken chili,” said Mike Leal, director of WMCE. “We thought this was the best choice since one member doesn’t really enjoy tomato baste, and we thought it would win in the most unique category.”
Admissions secretary Debbie Wurst has won awards the past two years.
“My first win was Best Overall Chili, and the next was Best Traditional. This year, I’m hoping to get a hat trick,” Wurst said.
She got her wish, winning this year’s Best Traditional Chili.
Wurst explained her secret to winning.
“I got the recipe from my neighbor who was a chili cooking champion, although I added my own touch to it,” she said. “Each time I make my chili, I make it differently.”
Husband-wife duo Aaron and Darcey Kemp of the athletic department and Center for Student Engagement & Leadership Development, respectively, received a trophy for having the Best Chili on the Hill.
Keith Cammidge, head coach of the women’s soccer team, had the most unique ingredient, and criminal investigator Dennis Donovan won for having the best hot and spicy chili.
Dean of Faculty Brian Ripley and assistant volleyball coach Jenell Patton won the award for best vegetarian chili.
Event organizer Jim Tometsko, director of human resources, explained the purpose of the chili cook-off.
“I organized this event for fun,” he said. “It’s difficult to get people out and about during winter and this is just the thing.”
The event raised $300 and 47 canned goods for the Mercy Center for Women.