Joe Eidem, CEC
Director Food & Nutrition Services Washoe Health System Reno, NV
“We offer a variety of different kinds of chili in our cafeteria, including vegetarian, turkey and the International Chili Society Chili, which is a traditional style using steak instead of hamburger meat and no beans.
“My own recipe (see recipes) uses round steak, olive oil and my favorite ingredient, Grandma's chili powder. Cumin is another important ingredient for chili. Since I'm Italian, I add a little oregano, too. Tabasco is another key ingredient.
“If I'm making a vegetarian chili, I use eggplant and squash, diced and sautèed in olive oil and added to the usual chili ingredients. For a chewier texture, leave the skin on the eggplant.”
Director of Residential Dining Services Colorado State University
This year we'll hold our 2nd Annual Chili Challenge in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. It lasts for a week and is open to the campus public, but participants have to sign up in advance.
“Starting on Monday, each one has to eat a full, 8-oz. bowl of chili every day for five straight days. He or she is allowed only one bottle of water, and nothing else, as an accompaniment. The chili gets progressively hotter as the week goes on.
“A section of the dining room is roped off with caution tape and the chili is served up by firemen.
By the fifth day, the participants are sweating and panting as they eat the hottest bowl yet, along with a habanero pepper! Those who complete the challenge get a T-shirt that reads, “I survived the 2nd Annual Chili Challenge.”
“Events like these are a lot of fun, and a good way to show students, faculty and administrators what we do!”
Production Manager MedCentral Health System Mansfield, Ohio
“For chili I like to use pulled beef and pork, combined with pinto and red kidney beans, with plenty of heat, but not so much as to mask the natural flavors. I use a chilispiked dry rub overnight on beef chuck flats and pork shoulder cushion meat, then roast in a slow oven for 8 to 10 hours before braising with the chili ingredients. I find that this technique creates a nice change from the usual ground meat chili con carne.”
Director, Associate Programs & Services Humana, Inc. Louisville, Kentucky
“We go through about 100 lbs. of chili per week between the months of November and March. Some of my personal favorite ingredients include pinto beans and Wisconsin cheese. The saying there is, ‘Chili without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze!' Also, seasonings and consistency are important-chili shouldn't be too thick or too thin!”