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Chili Cook Off Activity

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Culinary Arts Projects Chili Cook Off

This is a favorite in our culinary arts classes- a chili cook-off in the Fall. Here’s how you can set this up (we have 45-minute classes).

Setting up the Cooking Project:

Day 1– Have your students research a recipe for chili using the internet and you can also tell them the day before to bring in their family recipe. Have students decide if they are going to work in a pair or independently depending on your class size (or you decide if your classes are large). Read the chili history and types of chili reading for background info.

chili cook off activity
Check out our complete chili cook-off project activity on TPT.

Next- Have students work on the chili cook-off invitations for taste testing. Grab the free download here.

culinary arts chili cook off
Click for free Chili Cook Off Invitations!

Students submit recipes for approval. This will also help you to know how to set up their “starter packs”.

Day 2- Divide out the basic chili ingredients “starter pack”.

Starter pack example:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 onion
  • chili powder portioned in a baggie
  • depending on their recipe…other additions such as green pepper, etc.

Mise en place their chili with the ingredients they have which give you an extra day in case they need to tweak the recipe. So they set up, clean up stations, cut onions, etc. Stage out the different groups on the speed rack for the next day.

By the end of the period, students should let you know if they need anything additional that is not in their starter pack or in the pantry.

Day 3- Students cook their chili using individual pots. When they are finished, their pots are labeled A, B, C, D, etc.

Have students lay the chili out in a different container to allow it to cool faster.

Day 4- Chili Cook-Off day! Gather your mini-tasting spoons, 2 oz. portion cups and have students label their cups with the corresponding letter. Have the chili behind the cook’s line, guests grab a score card, tasting spoons, and taste each chili. Have cups of water out to clear their pallet in between each chili. One year we made cornbread for guests to eat in between each tasting.

This is always one of the students’ favorite experiences in culinary arts. We would love to hear how it goes for you so leave a comment on this post and let us know!

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