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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Corps of Cadets holds Cadet Chili Cookoff

Cadet+Chili+Cookoff
Photo by Jacob Martindale
Cadet Chili Cookoff

When most Aggies think of the Corps of Cadets, the first thought that comes to mind probably isn’t chili.

Since February, various outfits within the Corps have competed against one another for a chance to win the Cadet Chili Cookoff, a competition initiative started by Chartwells and Duncan liaison for the Corps, to attract more non-reg patrons to Duncan Dining Hall, the dining facilities located on the Quad.

Adrian Alba, mechanical engineering senior and Duncan liaison for the Corps, said that the thought came to him when brainstorming ways to entice non-regs.

“We decided to reach out to a lot of different outfits, and six outfits decided to join the competition. The past three Wednesdays, ever since the first Wednesday in February, two outfits cook their chili in Duncan Dining Hall and people came in and ate the chili they cooked, and voted on the best chili,” Alba said.

Over the course of competition, three outfits came out as victors, those being  S-1, S-2 and Delta Company. These victors will compete to defend their winning title against each other and a celebrity “chef,” Colonel Stebbins, Chief of Staff of the Corps.

Joshua Sutton, Delta Company veteran-cadet and food science & technology senior, said that their chili won against A-Battery in the first round.

“We knew we had a pretty good recipe, but we obliterated the competition in the first round and received 75 percent of the votes to make it a rather decisive victory,” Sutton said. “I hope those who liked it come out and support our true Texas red, which means we don’t add beans –it’s not a bean dip competition, it’s a chili competition. So anybody who’s looking to have some chili with depth and complex flavors should come on out.”

S-1 Cadet and petroleum engineering sophomore Nathan Batts said their chocolate chili recipe may catch patrons off guard, but the spice and well-balanced flavor is sure to impress. The best part of the competition, however, has been the teamwork, Batts said.  

“What makes us do so well is fantastic teamwork —we all work together, no one ever fusses whenever jobs are delegated, and I think that’s really crucial when you’re cooking for over 500 people, scaling up the recipes proved to be difficult,” Batts said. “We’re working in the back of Duncan Dining Hall in the kitchen, and none of us had ever used these industrial sized kitchen appliances, but thankfully the dining hall staff were fantastic and loved helping us out.”

David Sewell, S-2 cadet and nutrition sophomore, said his company’s chili came from a place close to home: his mother’s kitchen. Sewell had cooked the chili many a time before preparing it for Duncan diners, which made the mission of bringing cadets and non-regs together more personal.

“I think a lot of people think the Corps has the reputation of being redass and keepers of the spirit, but they [non-regs] don’t really know us. We’re still normal people, we’re nothing too special, and we may wear khaki uniforms to class everyday,” Sewell said. “But when it comes down to it, we’re just students like everyone else. I think coming to Duncan and hanging out might erase that fear of the Corps or that bad reputation we might have.”

Alba said the competition is meant to promote good spirits and to create fun opportunities for all kinds of students to interact, but he’s glad that cadets are bonding in the meanwhile, too.

Sewell said that cooking gave him memories to treasure in the future.

“Cooking gave me and my buddies an opportunity to bond and kick back and just relax even though we were still cooking and trying to make schedule, it was still a lot of fun and it was one of those things that you live for: the little things,” Sewell said.

The final round takes place Wednesday, March 8 from 5-8 p.m. Diners can vote for the best chili from 5-7 p.m. A $500 cash prize for the popular winner and $500 for chef’s choice dinner will be announced at 7 p.m. and be distributed to those who gather the most votes. The event is open to all students.

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