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The Supper Mom’s Dish Up Victory in a Culinary Job Training Chili Cook-Off First

Held at the midpoint of each Culinary Job Training program class, our Chili Cookoff event is a special milestone for our students. It’s their first real chance to put their newly minted skills – from recipe development to conflict resolution – to the test. CJT Class 163’s cook-off was particularly special, as it was the first of its kind for the Kitchen: an all-moms Chili Cook-off! Held at our training facility on the campus of THEARC in Ward 8, Class 163 was designed specifically for single mothers balancing childcare responsibilities while aspiring to start a meaningful new career in the culinary field. With modified hours, a curated location, and hands-on support from women leaders at DC Central Kitchen, this innovative adaptation of our training program is preparing 14 mothers to change the trajectories of their lives and their families’ futures. 

Adaptability and teamwork are often the secret ingredients to victory in a cooking competition. The “Supper Moms” learned this firsthand on their journey to first place in last week’s competition with their “Bow Chili Wow Wow” Seafood Chili. Despite facing some significant hurdles during their preparation, including adapting their recipe just moments before presenting their chili to the judges, the results showcased both their culinary skills and the importance of trust—in both the process and each other. 

When faced with an unexpected bean crisis, one team didn’t miss a beat. Swapping out a key ingredient late in the game demonstrated their ability to think on their feet and make the best of a challenging situation. But the hurdles didn’t end there. While the “Supper Moms” faced internal disagreements in the heat of the competition, they drew on lessons from their Self-Empowerment classes about open communication and addressing conflict headon to achieve their common goal. We had to work together to overcome it,” explained team member Tiffany M. We just put it to the side and talked about it afterward. 

Along with the tense moments and surprises inherent to the heat of the Chili Cook-off, Class 163 shared moments of mutual support and camaraderie. And even though only one team could claim that top spot, the 14 women of Class 163 collectively proved that perseverance and teamwork can lead to victory, even when facing the heat of competition.  

As Tiffany stated, “The underdogs come out on top!” 

To see more photos from CJT Class 163 Cook-off, head to the flicker album.