Social Studies IMC Hosts Annual Chili Contest


Ava Van Gelder

The Social Studies IMC faculty recently participated in their annual chili cook-off.

Since the mid 1980s, the Social Studies IMC has hosted a chili cook-off every February. The faculty from the social studies and business departments participate in this competition. The participants bring their own chili from home, and three victors are given–first, second and third place awards after an online voting process. There is also an award for the spiciest chili. In recent years, the invitation for the event has been extended to the Business IMC faculty as well, due to the fact that both IMCs are located in the same space. The contest takes place in the faculty break room located on the side of the IMC. Along with the chili, staff members bring appetizers and other dishes from home to make the contest a potluck-style event. AP United States History and Global Geography Instructor Bob Brousek has taken part in the contest for many years, and placed third for the first time this year.

“The winner [of the chili contest] this year is Mr. Davis Clouse,” Brousek said. “He became the rookie this year  and won for best chili.”

Business/Social Studies IMC Secretary Kathy Kanust takes on the role of decorating the break room in the Social Studies IMC every year for the contest.

“I have been [working at Westside High School] since 1993, and this chili contest has been going on since 1986,” Kanust said. “Usually, about six chilis are entered [into the contest] per year.”

Kanust said that after the contest takes place, all of the leftover chili is mixed together into a big pot and is consumed by business/social studies faculty for the following days. AP United States History Instructor Nathan Bramley was awarded first place at the contest for the past two years and was named second place winner this year.

“[The chili competition] was excellent [this year]; we had a lot of good participation, good snacks, deserts and social distancing,” Bramley said. “[Mr Clouse] beat me by one vote, but he made delicious chili, and he deserved [winning first place].”

English Language Learners Instructor Davis Clouse entered the chili competition without having previously made chili, and he, to his surprise, took first place. Clouse said he initially planned on following a recipe to make the chili, but ended up winging it.

“The chili competition was really fun for me, because it was my first time ever making chili,” Clouse said. “I used ground beef, Italian sausage, bacon, jalapeños and bell peppers [to make the chili].”