Genesee Community College Holds Spicy Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month

Novelist Margaret Cousins once stated that “Chili is not so much a food as a state of mind.” Students and faculty at Genesee Community College got in the right state of mind on Friday, October 26, as they competed in a chili cook-off and Pot Luck Fiesta featuring foods from Spanish-speaking countries in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The event, which was sponsored by ISO, Spanish classes, Student Activities, and the Language Lab, included chili entries from faculty and students. Recipes included a tempting five-bean chili, a hot, hot caliente entry, and a version with lamb and chocolate (Mexican style). Visitors performed a blind taste test and voted for their favorite by ballot. Bob Knipe, Dean of Learning Technologies, was named Genesee’s Champion Chili Chef. A resident of Batavia, Bob prepared a delicious chili that included black beans, smoked turkey sausage, and sweet potatoes.

Bob generously offered to share his recipe, but warned that “my style of cooking is to read a bunch of recipes and get the general idea of a dish. Then I put away the recipes and start cooking. No dish is ever the same twice – life’s more adventurous that way!”

Second place was awarded to student Casey Chatley, a resident of Nunda/Dalton NY, who prepared her mother’s recipe using yellow home-grown tomatoes to create a fresh-tasting and appetizing chili.

In addition to chili, the Pot Luck Fiesta featured sopa de mani from Bolivia, sopa de pollo (chicken soup), and Mexican style pasta. Participants sampled two cheeses from Spain, guava paste and hazelnut spread, and drank mango juice. A Mexican film, Like Water for Chocolate, was playing during the meal and students made posters to teach visitors words in Spanish. Hispanic Heritage Month is a period to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture.

“This was a wonderful way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Julie Miller, Spanish Instructor. “I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with students, staff, and faculty members who shared food stories and tales of travel abroad.”

For more information contact Miller at 585-343-0055 x6276 or by email at

Editor’s Note: A photograph of Spanish Instructor Julie Miller conversing with students at the Hispanic Heritage Month Chili Cook-Off is available by going to: