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TCAT holds Chili Cook-off for SkillsUSA Week
Chili Contest Winners1.jpg
Winners of the SkillsUSA Chili Cook-off give a thumbs up while holding up their prizes. In second place is TCAT student Jonathan Stockton, left, while TCAT maintenance man Donnie Fults, right, wins best chili. - photo by Lacy Garrison

TCAT SkillsUSA Chili Contest 2019

By: Nikki Childers

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Looking to spice up SkillsUSA Week, Tennessee College of Applied Technology held a Chili Cook-off contest Thursday. 

SkillsUSA is a national organization that is a partnership with technical colleges, students, and businesses. All students at TCAT McMinnville are members.

“Normally it is cool. The weather today isn’t, but the students decided to have the contest and serve it for lunch for $5,” explained instructor Sharon Barnes. “The majority of the money goes for students to compete in our state competitions in April. We pay for registration and travel expenses.”

With 10 crockpots of delicious chili to choose from, the judges sampled each entry while taking notes on the consistency, temperature and flavor.

Judge and TCAT retiree Marvin Lusk went back several times to reevaluate while carefully stirring the mixture before each sampling.

“I’m more of a meat person so I look for a good bean-to-meat ratio for a well-balanced chili,” said Lusk.

After some hearty deliberating between the three judges, the chili choice was made. Coming in first place was TCAT maintenance man Donnie Fults for his traditional tomato-based chili. In second place was TCAT student Jonathan Stockton. Both men shared their recipes. 

“I started it this morning so it didn’t take long to prepare,” said Fults with a grin. “You can go to Walmart and buy that Chili Mac and you put a can of that in there, a pound of ground beef, a cup of onion, and 14 ounces of diced tomatoes. I wasn’t expecting to win though.”

“Mine had chicken, corn, beans, cream cheese and a bunch of secret stuff,” laughed Stockton. “I prefer the chicken chili to the regular chili because I like the taste and spices. I got the recipe from a lady at church – Donna Anderson.”

Fults and Stockton received gift cards and a wooden spoon imprinted with “TCAT Chili Cook-off 2019.”