Purolite's 2019 Annual Cook-Off

On what felt like the chilliest Friday of the year, February 1st, Purolite employees excitedly rushed into work carrying their favorite chili, cornbread, or super bowl snack. It was Purolite’s Annual Chili Cook Off held in honor of the Super Bowl, a U.S. National Football League (NFL) championship that will be held in the upcoming days.

At the office, the conference room was extensively decorated by Doree Jacobs, Administrative Assistant, and was filled with football themed posters, figurines, and silverware. The office quickly filled with the aroma of spices, so pronounced that employees just could not wait until 12 to dig in. Luckily, the buffet was opened an hour earlier, at 11.

The same occurred at Purolite’s Production plant on G-Street where Anna Luna, Human Resource Assistant, and Hector Gonzales from the Maintenance department spent the morning transforming the lunch room. When employees entered at lunch time, they were awed by the green football field table cloths, golden streamers, and touchdown posters.

The Chili Cook Off is a heated competition. Each pot of chili is labeled with a small index card detailing what kind of chili it is along with a corresponding letter. As employees sample all the chili offerings and desserts, employees rank their favorites on slips of paper that get turned in and tallied. Each chili is rated on color, texture, taste, aroma, and spice. Prizes go to the chefs of the spiciest and overall best chilies.

“I’ve just been going down the line to try each one,” says Victoria Ortiz of the Bala office as she describes her process for trying all the chilies. Strong contenders for the spice contest included Andrea Bartus’ Texas Chunk Chili, Zina Reye’s “Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Chili,” and Tom Gigliotti’s “Hottest Chili You’ve Ever Tasted” chili. Employee’s chatted and enjoyed Karen Beck’s Super Bowl Soup, Linda East’s mild chili, Doree Jacob’s Turkey Veggie Chili, and the milder version of Tom’s Tart and Spicy Cider Chili. To accompany the chili, Doree Jacobs brought in brownies, cupcakes, crackers, and bread, while Ronnie Timko and Jason Pryor provided the chips. Gayle Reese and Tom Gigliotti both shared their favorite homemade cornbread with the office. To top off the abundance of food, Zina Reyes ordered hoagies.

“Down at the plant, we finished all the chili before the hoagies even arrived!” Jokes Warner Jarnagin, Plant Director. G-Street Employees spent the day enjoying Anna Luna’s Vegan Sweet Potato Chili, John Wisniewski’s Mild Chili, and Steve Moylan’s Shredded Pork White Chili. The chili was so popular at G-Street, that they ran out! Luckily, the sandwiches arrived just in time.

In addition to the tasty buffet, the walls were lined with backdrops for super bowl themed photo booth. The group took turns taking photos and holding props in the backdrop. Small figurines of football helmets and footballs were placed around the table, and on top of each cupcake. Some employee’s even took the day as an opportunity to represent their favorite football teams by coming into work in their favorite team’s jersey.

“This was a spicy year!” Karen Beck, Human Resource Manager, declared. Picking winners was especially tricky this year. Each chili stood out in its own unique way. However, when it finally came time to count the votes, Andrea Bartus from Marketing won best overall at Bala, Tom Gigliotti from Marketing won spiciest at Bala, John Wisniewski from Production won first place at G-Street, and Anna Luna from Human Resources won second place at G-Street. Congratulations! Gift cards were awarded to all those who placed.

Unsurprisingly, the Annual Chili Cook Off was greatly enjoyed for yet another year. Thank you to everyone who contributed and brought in chili, or snacks. A special thanks is extended to Doree Jacobs, who took care of the setup and cleanup at the Bala office for this day, Anna Luna and Hector Gonzales, who took care of the setup at G-Street, and the entire Human Resource Team, for arranging this fun event.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday and may your preferred team win!