DUHS participates in annual chili cook-off
DOWAGIAC — Last week, culinary students with Dowagiac Union High School felt the heat of the kitchen during an annual competition.
On Friday Dec. 7, DUHS took three teams to Lake Michigan College’s 12th annual chili cook-off. There were 20 teams competing from Kalamazoo and St. Joe/Benton Harbor Academy Charter school. The winners were from the St. Joe/Benton Harbor academy, having made a white chicken chili. DUHS culinary instructor Andy Kruger said DUHS students finished just outside of the top five winners, finishing in the top 10. He added that the three Dowagiac teams won the classroom chili competition among 30 of their fellow students.
Kruger said the competition was a good experience for his students that taught them creativity and how to think on their feet.
“This was a great experience for our students. They had a chance to see Lake Michigan College’s campus and compete in a high-profile cooking contest,” Kruger said. “My students practiced the week leading up to the event. The hard part was making a pan baked corn bread on an open flame. The rules state that you cannot use electricity. So, a conventional oven was not allowed.”
DUHS also competed last year with one team, finishing third out of 17 teams. Kruger said the competition was stiff this year, and though Dowagiac’s teams didn’t receive medals this year, he still felt the competition to be a fun, worthwhile experience for students.
“Winning is great. The students get trophies and medals with a chili pepper on them,” he said. “However, the experience is the real prize. My three teams did a super job of keeping cool and coming up with a finished product. All three of our teams finished in the top 10.”
Kruger said the students plan to compete again next year that they are already coming up with ideas for LMC’s 13th annual chili cook-off.