Chili Cook-Off 2023

Twenty-six different chili recipes competed at the yearly event

Brett Kolles and Angie Craig

Rotaract Club hosted the annual Chili Cook-Off Thursday, April 13, 2023, in the main commons on the Dakota County Technical College campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The campus community contributed 26 chili recipes for the competition.

Attendees paid $4 to sample each chili recipe and purchase a slice of cornbread and a soda. They also got the chance to enjoy live music performed by Harold Torrence, EdD, a business instructor at the college. Congresswoman Angie Craig stopped by the event to visit and try out the various chili options. All proceeds went to support Rotaract Club activities.

Attendees voted for their favorite chili as usual. This year’s Chili Cook-Off resulted in a tie for first place. Both contributors received the same number of votes. Each will receive a customized Chili Cook-Off apron.

This year’s Chili Cook-Off winners

“Over the Top Chili” by Torry Jeranek

“Spicy Texas Red (no beans)” by Todd Jagerson

More chili entries with numerous votes (listed in descending numerical order):
  • “Flamethrower Chili” by Academic Affairs
  • “Patented Space Age Out-of-This-World Moon Chili” by Fran Kennedy
  • “Papa Joe’s High Velocity Chili” by Adam Roesler
  • “Dr. Chili Pepper” by Amy Evanson
  • “Sugar and Spice Makes It All Nice” by Matt Boudinot
  • “Oh Deer” by Erin Hale-Sanford
  • “Better Than Tom Cruise’s Acting” by Mike Mendez
  • “Band of Beans” by Cheryl Brogger
  • “Snow-Covered Pothole” by Jean Wermus
  • “What’s Lurk’en Here?” by Kerry Lurken
  • “Mega Bussin Chili” by Michelle Kleeberger
  • “Eat Me” by Gerry Rainford
  • “Roaring Lions White Chicken Chili” by Joyce Mallory

More about the Chili Cook-Off…

Brett Kolles, an English instructor at DCTC and the college’s 2019 Instructor of the Year, serves as a Rotaract Club faculty co-advisor along with Jill Frahm, a history instructor. Rotaract gives students the chance to volunteer as a team, plan activities and projects, motivate, inspire, and socialize. A division of Rotary International, Rotaract’s core goals are to serve the community, create professional development opportunities for students, network with Rotary Clubs by inviting speakers and mentors, and be part of an international network of young leaders. Most importantly, when Rotaract Club members get to work, they have a lot of fun!

Brett reported that the Chili Cook-Off aligns ideally with the objectives listed in the college’s vision statement: “At DCTC, we aspire to create a transformational education for every student founded on belonging, learning, support, clear pathways, and community engagement.”

Harold Torrence, EdD

“The Chili Cook-Off is an important part of our campus culture.”
Harold Torrence, EdD
Business Faculty
Música Bohemia Musician
Dakota County Technical College

Brett added that the Chili Cook-Off received a remarkable level of support and contributions from many different departments. Torry Jeranek, HVAC/R instructor, and the DCTC Military Networking Group stepped up by delivering much-needed assistance preparing for the occasion.

“The DCTC Veterans Club is proud to help out at campus events like this,” said Torry, who serves as the club’s faculty advisor. “Supplying the ice for the beverage coolers and a little bit of sweat equity is the least we can do to help out the Rotaract Club with this amazing event!”

The Early Childhood & Youth Development (ECYD) program provided extra credit to students for volunteering (many did) during the event.

“Most of the students in the Early Childhood program are preparing to be teachers or to work in other roles within the education community,” said Sharon Bergen, PhD, ECYD faculty. “I felt working with the Chili Cook-Off would be a great chance for them to feel that sense of purpose and community that you get in a campus-wide event. We really can’t simulate that feeling within a single class so my thanks to Brett and the Rotaract Club for including our students in this wonderful endeavor.”

Graphic Design Technology Instructor Kayt Dowling and one of her students, Gisselle Lottin, covered graphics for the Chili Cook-Off. Gisselle is a graphic arts major earning her A.A.S. degree. She designed a new logo, a banner, and signage for the event.

“Gisselle also converted our Rotaract JPEG logo into a vector for future use,” Brett said. “We plan on using the newly created a Chili Cook-Off logo for years to come.”

Brett related that Anna Voight, associate director of student life, proved invaluable behind the scenes as an idea generator and key member of the Chili Cook-Off support team.

“Anna’s clarity and common sense really helped move this event in the right direction,” Brett pointed out. “I would also like to thank Jerry Stiles, building maintenance foreman, and Ryan Becker, building utilities mechanic, in Operations. Ryan took the lead on providing us the support we needed to make this year’s event one of our most rewarding to date. Of all my years doing the Chili Cook-Off, I have never witnessed such generous time and service donations from so many at Dakota County Technical College!”

Watch a Chili Cook-Off 2023 video on DCTC Instagram:

2023 Chili Cook-Off gallery

View more event photos by opening the DCTC Flickr album:

2023 Chili Cook-Off

Learn more about the Rotaract Club at DCTC by contacting:

Brett Kolles
English Faculty
Dakota County Technical College