OVERLAND PARK, KS -- A simmering pot of homemade chili will warm up any occasion which was evident Friday, October 16, when teams of Tallgrass Creek staff members competed in a spirited, chili cook off. As deciding voters, residents flocked to the community's Sunflower Room to taste the competition's 13 crock pots of chili, each representing a different department at Tallgrass Creek.
"It was a tough contest," says resident Anne Kyle, one of about 175 residents who tasted and voted for their favorite chili. "I've never seen that many different kinds of chili together in one place. They were all delicious."
The chili cook-off was sponsored by Tallgrass Creek's Living Values Team which celebrates positive life traits such as respect and caring, friendliness and enthusiasm, diversity, integrity, responsibility, excellence, and teamwork. The team plans to promote a different value each month with a meaningful activity; the chili cook off honored the spirit of teamwork.
"Great chili requires good ingredients that all work together," says Cara Freed, a member of the values team and assisted living manager at Blue Sage Pointe, Tallgrass Creek's continuing care neighborhood. "We think that symbolizes the teamwork and camaraderie we strive for at Tallgrass Creek every day."
Those ingredients and teamwork were well represented in the competition's different chili recipes. Whether it was the coffee and cocoa Team Salon added to its chili, the sorghum that made Team Resident Life's chili special, or the tender, turkey meat that was key to Team Security's chili, each crock pot held a special, tasty surprise.
After much tasting and teasing, the votes were counted and out came the first place trophy, a stack of three gold pans surrounded by glittery, chili peppers created by Blue Sage Pointe staff members Nathan Johnson and Cougar Gray. The unique trophy went to first place winner Team Sales and Marketing that competed with sales associate Sue LaBelle's recipe, a traditional chili she has made for years.
Second place honors went to Team Nursing Administration with its special ingredients of liquid smoke and chicken stock, and third place went to Team Transportation's yummy, buffalo meat chili.
"We plan to do this every year," says Anita Winter, Tallgrass Creek's communications manager who oversees the values team and its activities. "It was such fun and the response from both staff and residents was overwhelming."