By Sammi SLAYBACK
On Saturday, the La Crescenta Library cooked up some fun with its third annual chili cook off. Foothill residents made their way to the library’s community room where volunteers had set up tables for the contestants’ crock-pots, and seating areas where tasters could enjoy samples of each entry. There were several different types of chili to try, water to quench taste-testers’ thirst, and games and activities for children to enjoy.
Library manager Marta Wiggins organized the event with help from Friends of the Library, the event’s sponsor. All were welcome to enter the cook off and on Saturday, 10 cooks came bearing their recipes. Several – including the Crescenta Valley High School Robotics Club – were returning entrants from previous years and even librarian Wiggins was seen presenting a crock-pot of her own creation.
“The library loves to support the community,” said Wiggins. “So when the Robotics Club asked if they could show some of their equipment at the cook off, we were all for it.”
Club members brought little robots from its elementary school outreach program. The minis especially delighted the younger children at the cook off.
Contestants were lined up in an assembly line fashion to hand out chili samples. After people tried each offering, they cast their vote and dropped them in the ballot box. By the end of the event, votes were tallied and winners rewarded.
First place winners were presented with a $25 gift card for Ralphs, some snacks, and a crown designed by Wiggins. Second place winners received a $15 gift card and snacks, and third place winners were given a chili cookbook and a $10 gift card.
There were all kinds of chili present, but only one that was vegan friendly. Contestants Phillip Marzouk and Benny Azmon of Caspian Services entered the chili cook off to represent their company. The two kept in mind that there might be vegetarians at the event and kept their chili recipe meat-free.
“I’m in the food business as well,” said Azmon. “I’ve done competitions before so this [event] sounded like fun.”
The vegan chili ended up winning third place and the two left with their cookbook as well as their gift card.
Highly acclaimed by taste-testers, the Robotics Club’s “robo-chili” won first place.
After being presented with their prizes, the Robotics Club announced that they would be taking their gift card to the market to buy the ingredients for their chili. They then said they would be packaging these ingredients and taking them to the Salvation Army so that the less fortunate could enjoy their recipe as well.