Kali Bushey photographed the Residence Life Team with their first place check after the chili cook off finished. From left to right: Maggie Doucette, Evan D'Amore, Kelsey Snyder, Ethan Lambert.
Poultney celebrated the Rotary Club’s 29th Annual Chili Cook Off Saturday on Main Street.
The event highlighted chilis from 21 different groups and individuals around the Poultney community, all competing for the $300 grand prize.
Contestants make between 5 and 7 gallons of chili for the hundreds of attendees each year. Small mugs were sold through the Rotary Club for $8, allowing people to walk from booth to booth tasting each chili.
Green Mountain College’s Residence Life staff competed in the cook off and delivered a vegan, taco-style chili, which propelled the group to one of the winner categories for the second year in a row.
Maggie Doucette, a Community Director at GMC, was surprised to have been awarded the win this year.
"I've never heard of a vegetarian chili winning, so I think that's officially part of Poultney Chili Cook-Off history,” stated Doucette.
Evan D’Amore, a Resident Assistant in Moses Hall, spent the evening prior chopping onions and was glad the work paid off.
“I wanted to get it [chopping onions] over with, but I knew that if I took my time cutting those onions, the chili would taste better. Time well spent!” Evan proclaimed.
Chili makers were setting up and cooking as early as 8 o’clock that morning. The rules stated the only ingredient to be cooked the day before was the meat. With small stove tops and big pots, the cookers had to create their winning chili right on Main Street.
As people tasted the chili from the different booths, they were asked to fill a ballot out at the end to determine which chili was the best. Judges were also circulating the booths to see decorations and all the people making and serving chili that morning.
Ethan Lambert, a Resident Assistant in Lyman Hall, was feeling confident in the Residence Life Staff chili from the beginning.
“Our chili is the cream of the crop, the best of the best. How do you create a vegan, gluten free chili and pull up in first place? Just ask the Residence Life team!" Lambert exclaimed.
Further representing the GMC community, Mama Teresa’s Chili Stand, ran by Professor Teresa Coker and GMC students, successfully served hundreds of people searching for the best chili in Poultney at the cookoff.
The event was well attended, and the Poultney Rotary Club not only sold out of their mugs for the event, but started selling styrofoam cups to people after the mugs were all gone.
John Van Hoesen, a professor at GMC and the Poultney Rotary Club’s treasurer said, “for me the most important takeaway from the longevity of the event is that the community continues to be in support of Rotary, which in turn means we can then help support a variety of community efforts and initiatives.”
In addition to the $900 given out as prize money, this event will also help support the Poultney Food Shelf, National History Day, the Poultney Summer Recreation Program, scholarships for Poultney High School graduates, and numerous other organizations, Van Hoesen detailed.
“The Rotary Club appreciates all the support we get every year,” stated Van Hoesen, “we had a great turnout for the 29th year of this event. Both in terms of cookers and attendees.”