The Best Chili on Campus? Thorne Hosts Student Cook-off

Bowdoin students like it hot — at least when it comes to chili. Last night, the 11th Annual Doug Pollack Polar Chef Competition pitted student chef against student chef in a chili cook-off. Three teams — one from each dining hall and one from Smith Union — cooked up nine gallons of chili each, offering samples to diners who had to vote on their favorite recipe.

The Jack Magee’s Outlaws, representing Smith Union, took home the gold with 181 votes. Jack Giovanucci ’15, Kristina Karlsson ’17 and Cameron Woodford ’15 cooked up an original recipe that they described as sweet and hot. “Just like us,” Karlsson said.

Coming in a close second was Team Moulton Lava with 178 votes. Working off of a family recipe, Miranda Hall-Aquitania ’18, Lu Miao ’17 and Victor Leos ’16 whipped up a batch of rich beef chili with a slight kick. “You’ve got to go nuts with the spices,” said Hall-Aquitania.

Despite their home-court advantage, The Vegan Tricycles, representing Thorne, came in third with 103 votes. Their bean-heavy vegan chili was accompanied by vegan sour cream: a concoction of silken tofu, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar perfected by senior Jack Wostrel’s mother. He, Shannon Knight ’18 and Heidy Morales ’17 reported that their secret ingredient was love. “My mom cooks with love and she says you’ve got to love the people you’re cooking for, so I’m hoping that love spreads out and translates into votes,” said Wostrel.

This year, David Burgess, Thorne Hall’s service data coordinator, helped spice up the competition with the addition of checkered tablecloths, decorative saddles and hay bales. He also decided to change the format of the event. “Normally we do it like an Iron Chef competition where we have a secret ingredient,” said Burgess. “This year we wanted to try something a little different. We used to have four judges but now everybody in the audience is a judge.”

The judges were satisfied. After trying samples, a few savvy students returned to the serving area with bowls, hoping to get even more.

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