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Chili champs kick it up a notch

November 4, 2003


Once again, Joyce Roberts claimed first place bragging rights at the annual Homecoming Chili Cook-off Oct. 29 in the UC.

Sixteen faculty, staff and students entered the contest, sponsored by the Staff Support Council, according to Heather Legg, development officer in University Advancement. The chilies were judged on originality, presentation and, of course, taste.

Roberts, who supervises the Information Center in the Office of the Registrar, claimed victory with a venison chili made with what she calls her secret ingredient: love.
November 4, 2003


Once again, Joyce Roberts claimed first place bragging rights at the annual Homecoming Chili Cook-off Oct. 29 in the UC.

Sixteen faculty, staff and students entered the contest, sponsored by the Staff Support Council, according to Heather Legg, development officer in University Advancement. The chilies were judged on originality, presentation and, of course, taste.

Roberts, who supervises the Information Center in the Office of the Registrar, claimed victory with a venison chili made with what she calls her “secret ingredient”: love.

“I am proud of my chili,” she says. “My father, a U.S. Navy cook, and my husband, an avid outdoorsman, taught me how to cook wild game and make it delicious.”

Dr. Jim Diehr, interim dean of the College of Arts and Letters, may have placed second to Roberts for the second year in a row, but his passion for his original chili recipe is second to none.

“After I made some beef bourguignon, I noticed how tender the meat was from sautéing it, and I thought that I could take cheap cuts of cubed meat prepared the same way and use them in chili,” he says. “It gives it a little different taste. I guess it's ‘French chili.'”

Diehr's chili featured a little Burgundy, diced tomatoes with green chiles, crushed tomatoes (not tomato sauce) and two types of beans. However, he says the real secret is the seasoning, and he's not giving his secret away.

This year's third-place winner was Yvonne Lowe, head coach of cross country/track and field. She says her chili was one-part family recipe, two parts spontaneity. “I always like to experiment with chili and change it up a bit every time I cook it,” she says.

Lowe really caught the judges' attention with her presentation, which featured a red and white place setting bearing the “ Peay Pride” slogan and candles.

While neither Diehr nor Lowe stooped to deliver any trash talk, Lowe did say, “I would like to break the tradition of the winning streak for first place.”

As for Roberts, she says, “If anyone out there wants to win the chili competition, they will have to step up!”

Roberts walked away from the contest with a new crock-pot. The second and third place winners picked up containers full of kitchen utensils.
—Rebecca Mackey