Cheers for chapel chili cook-off

By Randall Jackson, U.S. Army Garrison ItalyOctober 20, 2023

(Photo Credit: Randall Jackson) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy – The U.S. Army Garrison Italy Religious Support Office hosted their annual chili cook-off at the Caserma Ederle Chapel Thursday, Oct. 19, to bring community members together.

Contestants from Unit Ministry Teams competed in the culinary event. They included Soldiers from the 173d Airborne Brigade, USAG-Italy, SETAF-AF and the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater) along with guest judges from the community. The cook-off featured a variety of chili recipes to tempt each personal taste. Ultimately, judges decided two were best.

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Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Hirko, from the 207th MI Brigade, and two-time reigning champ, Chaplain (Maj.) Stephen McDermott each took home bragging rights for best chili in the Vicenza Military Community.

“This is my third year wearing the crown, but I will happily share it with my brother here,” said McDermott.

The chili cook-off was intended to encourage fun rivalry and fellowship.

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“I’ve been hearing about the legend of Chaplain John McDermott ever since I’ve been here, so to be mentioned in the same sentence is truly an honor,” said Hirko jokingly.

Sgt. Darius Hale, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion’s chaplain assistant, shared family experience competing, even if he didn’t win.

“For my chili, I use turkey meat, and didn’t add corn, so mine is just organic and doesn’t need any extra spices,” Hale said. “My wife’s grandmother is visiting from the States, and she helped. So, our chili is a combination of grandma’s cooking and my new style.”

The Religious Support Office routinely looks for creative ways to connect with the community.

“It’s so vital as UMTs (Unit Ministry Teams) that we work together as a team to take care of Soldiers,” Hirko said.
Cheers for Chapel chili cook-off
On Oct. 19, the Unit Ministry Teams from throughout U.S. Army Garrison Italy hosted a chili cook-off to promote fellowship and fun. (Photo Credit: Randall Jackson) VIEW ORIGINAL

For the Facebook reel of the chili cook-off click here