The winning chili with Graham Elliott

Fall Fair hosted a new and exciting event for the Collegiate community to prepare its best dish for the Courtyard Chili Cook-off with celebrity Chef Graham Elliot as one of the contest judges.

Students, faculty and staff and community members joined Elliot for an afternoon of mixing spices with just the right touch of their secret ingredient to make their chili stand out from the crowd.

The Harris Courtyard filled with spectators and the aroma of homemade recipes as participants prepared their best chili.

“We were thrilled with the positive feedback from so many excited participants,” said Kate Pringle, Annual Fund & special events coordinator. “We had a solid showing of our community, which made me so proud to know so many of our very own faculty and staff supported this new event.”

Some of our students were spectators of the cook-off, including international student Ruby Yuan who was extremely excited for the cook-off. His excitement spanned far beyond taste testing, as Ruby is a true fan of Graham Elliot and noted that he has watched every episode of Master Chef and Master Chef Junior.

“When I received word that Graham Elliot was coming to our school via Twitter…I said, 'No, this couldn’t be true.' I clicked the handle and it was truly him,” said Ruby. “I knew I had to meet him.”

Ruby, filled with excitment had the opportunity to interview Elliot for an Oak Leaf article, Collegiate’s student newspaper, which was featured in the Nov. 4 edition.

“One important thing that I took away from meeting him was, food should be exceptional to the people in its country,” said Ruby. “If you want to know how to perfect a cultural dish, it’s important to travel and experience different cultures. This is how you’ll find your own cooking identity.”

Ruby hopes to pursue culinary school and his experience with Elliot had an extremely impressionable influence on this decision.

Since meeting Elliot, Ruby has received a signed copy of his new cookbook, tailored to the everyday person who desires to improve his or her cooking.

“One of the most exciting treats was Ruby who came to my office as soon as he heard about the cook-off with Graham Elliot. He wanted to interview him,” Pringle said. “The joy on his face while he had this amazing opportunity was the cherry on top of the entire experience.”

The new addition of the cook-off definitely sparked an interest within our community.

Elliot, joined by our SAGE Food Services Director Chef Adam Woods and TASTE Unlimited’s Director of Marketing Amy Jordon who replaced alumni Jon Pruden of TASTE, served as the judges of the contest.

“Not only would the ‘Best BOWL’ winning [the chili cook-off] receive bragging rights, their recipe would also be featured as a soup of the week at all seven TASTE Unlimited Hampton Roads locations the week of Nov. 2,” said Pringle.

The People’s Choice Award and Best BOWL Award were both won by Vince Ortiz, our Middle School Counselor Val Ortiz’s husband.

The runner ups for the awards were Collegiate faculty members Judy Davis and Charlene Loope.

Hurry over to TASTE to order the 2015 Courtyard Chili Cook-off Best BOWL and if you want to view it on the menu, click here.

Click here to view the Homecoming & Fall Fair photo albums.  



Nov. 5, 2015