Record-setting Chili Throwdown 2014 spices up United Way giving

Yale Dining’s sixth annual Chili Throwdown to benefit The United Way of Greater New Haven turned out to be its biggest and most successful fundraiser to date.

Staff and faculty who attended the event on Nov. 24 in Commons Dining Hall helped raise $7,500 — a total that includes $5 donations by attendees to sample the chili, silent auction bids, and, new this year, raffle ticket sales, a $2 “wheel of fortune,” and a generous vendor donation.

Also new was an invitation to the New Haven restaurant community to enter the competition. Of the 28 pots of chili set out for tasting, four recipes were submitted by city restaurants and one, a Thali original, was a winner. This year’s event also included the largest number of chili entries from departments outside of Yale Dining. Two winners hailed from Information Technology Services and the German department, respectively.

While hungry staff and faculty members tasted as many different chili concoctions as they could and voted with chips for the People’s Choice Award winner, judges sampled all 28 recipes to determine who would take prizes in the vegetarian and meat categories. The judges were chef David McCue, culinary arts professor at the Culinary Institute of Connecticut; Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins of the Yale Police, University Chaplain Sharon Kugler, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, and Ron DeSantis, Yale Dining director of culinary excellence and quality assurance.

This year’s winners were:

Vegetarian chili winners

1st place – William Ojeda, Yale Dining, #19

2nd place – Prasad from Thali restaurant, #22

3rd place – Christine Bartlett, Jonathan Edwards Dining Hall, #14

Meat chili winners

1st place – Rafi Taherian, Yale Dining, #15

2nd place – Alexander (Smith) Svensen, German Department, #2

3rd place – Eric Grenier, Information Technology Services, #8

People’s Choice Award winner

Bill Wilson — Yale Dining, #10

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