The Lake Tahoe Community College's Commons turned into a chili lover's delight Tuesday for the 13th annual Chili Cook-Off.
The contest pitted 10 of the college's student groups against one another in a culinary battle that would determine the chef --or chefs --with the tastiest chili. Voters circled the floor, sampling and judging each contestant's entry before filling out a blue ballot with their top picks.
"Every quarter the school promotes school club events. It's the chance to get all the clubs together in friendly competition. It's winter --what do you want to eat? Some tasty, warm chili," CalWorks Program Assistant Lisa Shafer said.
Though the contest might be low-key, the students still take their creations seriously. President of the International Club Sallie George described the white beans, pinto beans, peppers, cauliflower, corn, butternut squash and spices that comprised her club's vegan chili.
"We wanted it to be totally different than everybody else's," George said.
Tammy Veatch with Ally Club, the two-time reigning LTCC cook-off champion, was confident of success partly thanks to her secret ingredient - bacon. The club even added vegan bacon to the vegetarian pot.
Yet by 1 p.m., when all 195 votes had been tallied, it was the International Club's entry that brought home the prize in the form of the Best Overall Chili Award.
"I heard from my counter that they won by a country mile," Shafer said.