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City employees compete in Soup-er Bowl
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Miste Jett scooped the competition and won best overall with her Italian tortellini soup at the city of McMinnville’s inaugural soup and chili cook off Friday. She was awarded a golden ladle for having the best entry. - photo by Bethany Porter

City employees filled Milner Recreation Center to partake in the inaugural chili and soup cook off lunch and one employee walked away with the coveted golden ladle.

Sarah Medley helped organize the event and said it all came from the Wellness and Employee Engagement Committee. They were brainstorming about possible events and came up with the chili and soup cook off. 

“We wanted to be able to give back to an organization and we chose Caring Hearts United. Any donations that are given during lunch will go to them,” said Medley. “Departments and employees brought all the materials and food for the meal and we were trying to find a theme around the Super Bowl and we thought bring your best finger foods, but then Libby brought up Soup-er Bowl.”

Caring Hearts United is a nonprofit that works with hospice organizations and helps assist with the needs of hospice patients. Cofounder and chair Dianne Sneed was very thankful for the city for choosing her organization for its fundraiser.

“This is a wonderful, very well-attended, and very well-prepared event,” said Sneed. 

There were 20 entries and multiple sides and desserts. Employees from all departments participated and more than half of all city employees showed up for the lunch. 

The soups and chilies were judged in a blind taste testing and were scored 1-5 on taste, smell, and appearance. There were a total of seven awards given out to the winners. There were first second and third place for chili and soup, plus the overall winner. 

First place chili went to Kevin Roberts. Second place chili went to Ricky Morton. Third place chili went to Terry Beard. First place soup went to Dawn Hitchcock. Second place soup went to Marty Cantrell. Third place soup went to Stacy Cherry.

City employee Miste Jett took home the grand prize with her Italian tortellini soup. Jett was awarded a plaque with a golden ladle on it. She knew a lot of people were making chili and wanted to do something a little different. She says she does not technically have a secret ingredient for her winning soup, but she does enjoy cooking.  

“It is not necessarily a secret ingredient, but I do enjoy cooking and I enjoy feeding people,” said Jett.