ENID, Oklahoma. – Instructors in the Culinary Arts program at Autry Technology Center threw their students out on their own to make chili.
Students from the morning and afternoon classes banded together to compete for the best chili, then, after a recipe from each class was chosen and refined with the help of the instructors, Ryan Simpson and Kelly Holder The morning chili class was considered the best.
Chile ended up taking first place in Judge’s Chili Choice in the 33rd United Way Chili Cook-Off.
“This (chili) isn’t something I’ve been working on for years. It’s not something I learned in school or anything – it’s something (the students) did, ”Simpson said. “All we did was lead them a little bit, and that’s all it took. They are the ones who shine.
Autry was one of 36 competitors in the annual chili prep, themed “Roller Coasters Rides & Chili”. Karys Lam, a 16-year-old student in Autry’s Culinary Arts program, said she was very excited to win Judge’s Chili Choice.
“There are all these bands here, and this is the first time we’ve been here. This is the first time we’ve made chili – neither of us have ever made chili, ”Lam said,“ and then winning is really cool. “
OG&E won the Audience Award for the fourth year in a row and also took first place for the best decorated booth. Stride Bank Center took first place in Top Dollar Chile with a total of $ 5,500.
The second and third places in the Judge’s Chili Choice were won by KOFM Radio and OG&E respectively. The town of Enid won second place in the best decorated booth and Top Dollar Chile with $ 4,402.38. Enid’s YWCA took third place in the best decorated booth, and Messer-Bowers Insurance raised $ 1,520 in total, taking third place in Top Dollar Chile.
Dan Schiedel, executive director of United Way of Enid and Northwestern Oklahoma, said all funds raised would benefit United Way partner agencies.
Despite a lower number of contestants, Schiedel said hundreds of community members came to the Stride Bank Center to cook the chili, adding that he “felt good” to be back after having to cancel the show. last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The cooking of the chili was phenomenal,” said Schiedel. “It was very successful. Everyone who came and participated loved it and had a great time, and they are always excited about this event. It is one of their favorite events in Enid.
Messer-Bowers competes every year to show support for Enid and get involved in the community, said Melissa McLemore, business accountant at Messer-Bowers.
Jamie Moore, community relations coordinator with OG&E, said OG&E also participates in chili preparation every year to show their support.
“We are a huge supporter of the United Way,… and it’s just a way to show our community that we love and support them,” said Moore.
Shelley Culver has always made it her mission to try each of the entrees every year. She walked through the rows and by 11:30 am on Friday, the “amateur chili taster” had self-judged all 36 entries.
Culver has been involved in previous chili mixes with her “chili lover” father before his death in 2019, and over the years she has developed her own tips and methods to find out which chili is the best overall.
On top of all the chili, Culver said the best part about cooking chili is that it gives community members something to do and share.
“You find people here who are your friends and neighbors – you make new friends just by chatting,” she said. “It’s a really wonderful gathering place, and you get chili – lots and lots of chili, and I love it.”