Greystone has a long and storied history of chili cookoffs, in fact, we’re planning one (along with a costume contest) for Halloween this year. Looking back over the two years that I’ve led the people and culture function at Greystone, I can’t help but recall the first chili cookoff that I participated in. It was about a week after I started my role, and you know how it is in a new job. You’re nervous, still learning the lay of the land, and trying to figure out who the best home cooks are. The stakes in a chili cookoff just feel higher when you’re new.

Lo and behold, there were some serious chili heavyweights that showed up for this cookoff. There was a very exotic lamb chili, and I think someone literally smoked a roast on their smoker and then incorporated it into another recipe. There were some serious contenders. I was confident though, generally speaking, the chili I make is hot (usually a crowd pleaser) and made with beer. I might not win, but they had to like it, right?

Everyone crowded into the conference room and tasted the chili submissions, we had all the accouterments, and it was a fun time. Voting commenced, and my chili wasn’t wasn’t even close to the others, but rather dead last. Later that day, my husband consoled me, telling me that it had to be because I was new to the team since our family loves my chili. But I wasn’t so sure, I earned the last place trophy which features an outhouse that plays music, after all. A few days went by and it became known that one team member, whose wife had just had twins, had literally gone to Wendy’s for his chili contribution and disguised it in a crockpot. We should have known he didn’t cook his chili but nonetheless, I still lost to Wendy’s. Peter, our CEO, debated the merit of handing out last place trophies in our all staff meeting later that day and now we all get a good laugh whenever we look back at what happened during that particular chili cookoff.

This year, I’ve adjusted my recipe. I’m doing the low carb thing, so I won’t add beans, and I’ve added a bit of tomato paste, but it’s essentially still the same spicy beer inclusive recipe. I’m going to be in our Boulder office, and we have some heavy hitters contributing chili there as well but I’m not scared. This time, we’ve stipulated the chili needs to be homemade and I’m ready to share the last place trophy with someone new.

We’ll post highlights and photos from our team dressing up and the results of the chili cookoff on social media so keep an eye out for those updates in the coming week!

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