Director Mark Masuoka tasting the chili.
Director Mark Masuoka’s scorecard of the seven different entries.
A frigid and overcast Monday provided a perfect atmosphere for staff members looking to warm up with a bowl of chili at the Akron Art Museum’s Chili Cook Off fundraiser on December 9. Seven employees entered their favorite chili recipes in a battle judged by the museum’s Executive Director & CEO Mark Masuoka. First, second and third place winners were chosen based on consistency, flavor and variety of ingredients.
Two entries tied for third place – one made by Sheri Stallsmith which was a traditional chunky red chili filled with tri-colored bell peppers, and the other made by Cristina Alexander which was also traditional but contained a secret ingredient: spicy Italian sausage. Second place was awarded to Carol Murphy who created a white chicken and smoked sausage chili accompanied by lime wedges and fresh cilantro. The first place ribbon went to Laura Firestone for her uniquely flavored vegetarian chili filled with chick peas and crushed tomatoes.
For a small fee, staff members enjoyed unlimited bowls of chili, salad, slaw, cornbread and dessert. All proceeds will be donated to United Way as part of the museum’s annual campaign. Special thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to the winners!
The winners and their ribbons.
Cristina Alexander and Sheri Stallsmith tied for third place. Rather than sharing custody of the ribbon they decided to split it in half.
By Cristina Alexander, Assistant to the Director
What’s the secret to the best chili? Some say the hotter the better; others prefer a hint of sweetness. But it was for the judge to decide at the Akron Art Museum’s first annual Chili Cook-Off on Tuesday, November 9, held in the museum’s lobby. Eight staff members entered their favorite chili recipes and went head to head in a blind contest judged by Board of Trustee member, Rory O’Neil. Every chili varied in flavor and presentation – from turkey and pumpkin to spicy vegetarian – but none lacked in mouthwatering flavor. The chili was judged and awarded prizes for Most Traditional, Most Creative, and Hottest.
Those who attended paid a $5 admission fee, which allowed for unlimited bowls of chili, cornbreads, and desserts. All of the proceeds were donated to United Way of Summit County.
The most heartfelt thanks are offered to all of the contestants who competed in the battle of the chili, as well as everyone who attended and contributed to United Way. Congratulations to all of our winners… Who will step up to the challenge next year??