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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (March 4, 2015) – California Baptist University diners at the Alumni Dining Commons enjoyed some award-winning chili at lunch March 4. Or at least chili that was voted favorite at the recent chili cook-off.

Fifteen students, faculty and staff submitted recipes for the contest. Executive Chef Giuseppe Pitruzello narrowed down the recipes, then he, his sous chef and pastry chef picked the top three, all from students. Diners sampled the three recipes and then voted for their favorite at the ADC Feb. 26.

"Chili to me is a robust, one-dish wonder that I could dip some cornbread in, or a piece of bread and wipe around the plate, and feel like I had something inexpensive but yet delicious and filling at the same time," Pitruzello said.

The finalists were Jennifer Ahlberg, a freshman communications disorders major; Emily Done, a sophomore communication disorders major; and Jennet MacDonald, a sophomore nutrition and food sciences major.

Ahlberg said she and her best friend make the recipe every year on Halloween.

"The recipe is so different because it has so much flavor with a just a little spice to it, which is perfect for me," she said. "I don't like spicy food."

Done's recipe came from her mother, she said.

"A distinctive quality is that we don't add beans, which makes it ‘real' chili," Done said.

MacDonald's recipe came from her grandfather who was a firefighter and cooked for his firehouse. Chorizo and cumin make it unique.

"It's good because you can make it your own," she said. "You can make it spicy, make it hot."

Students had their favorites, whether it was the meatiness, the spiciness or the sweetness that grabbed their palates. The cook-off even got Dionasys Kalentermidis, a criminal justice major, to try chili for the first time.

"I thought it would be too spicy. It's nice to know it's not," he said.

The winning recipe was from Ahlberg. She received a Provider gift card, a box of Hot Tamales and her chili was served at lunch March 4.

"The whole plan is to get the students involved and to have them come in and try something and have them select something and kind of a jury of their peers. It's a monotony breaker just to say that we're having fun," Pitruzello said. "We're just trying to keep engaged and keep things fresh and new, just so they don't feel like they're just coming to the cafeteria."