It was a very pleasant and unseasonably warm day not only outside but inside as well. The Pressley Ridge Day School was celebrating its 17th annual Chili Cook-off. Over the course of three days, students took on the role of being chefs creating their own blend of spices and chili for the big day.
This year marked the seventeenth cook-off which was started at the former Pressley Ridge Ohiopyle Wilderness program. The event was created to bring people together to get to know one another better over some steaming chili during a cold winter day. Now, the cook-off takes place at the Day School Pittsburgh and this year involved eleven classrooms, a special coordinators chili and several celebrity judges.
Each classroom creates a recipe with the goal of making the best chili in the school. Then, over three days, the classrooms take turns cooking their chili to perfection. On the day of the event, the cafeteria is transformed into a festive atmosphere complete with decorations and music. Each classroom is able to enjoy their chili during lunch while the judging occurs.
A representative from each classroom and the celebrity judges sit down together and try each chili one by one. As they taste, they fill out their judge’s form with notes about each recipe. There are many comments heard at this point anywhere from, “that was delicious’, to “please hand me a glass of water”.
The official voting takes place and the votes are tallied. This year Classroom 6 won the Best Taste Award as well as the hottest. The Coordinator’s chili, (prepared by Mr. Conley) won the Most Original Chili award.
This event is a tradition that shows children one of the Re-Education principles at the core of Pressley Ridge, “Ceremony and Ritual Give Order”. The event gives them a sense of community, teaches them how to work in a group, and gives them confidence.
The Pressley Ridge Day School Pittsburgh would like to thank all who participated including the classrooms, the teachers, celebrity judges Dr. Bedell, Mr. Conley, Jim Doncaster, Susanne Cole, and the food-service staff and ancillary staff who spent a great deal of time organizing this event.