City Manager Graham Mitchell can add one more accomplishment to his resume—award-winning chili cook.
Mitchell captured first place in a friendly competition Thursday in a contest organized by the City Slickers, the city's Relay for Life team. A nearly perfect balance of components earned him high marks across five categories that judged color, aroma, consistency and texture, taste, and chili name. He took home a trophy and a mug from the American Cancer Society.
Mitchell, who has served as Lemon Grove's city manager since 2003, beamed as he accepted his award and noted it had “only taken eight tries” to finally pin down a win.
The team's annual competition raises money for Relay for Life, the 24-hour event that supports cancer research, treatment and recovery. This year's relay will be held May 19-20 at Palm Middle School.
City Slickers is one of eight teams already signed up to take part, says Michelle Gonzales-Lopez, a senior Relay for Life manager with the American Cancer Society. And with 12,000 diagnoses of cancer anticipated this year in San Diego alone, the team's effort is important.
“They’re doing great. They are definitely set on a path for success this year,” Gonzales-Lopez said.
There were eight entries in Thursday's competition, which featured meaty contributions from city staffers, the Lemon Grove Fire Department, and the Lemon Grove Sheriff's Station.
The contest was judged by Fire Chief Mike Scott of Heartland Fire & Rescue, Mike Vanbuskirk of Hitzke Consulting, Lemon Grove Patch, and Gonzales-Lopez. The team netted $253 in proceeds from chili and raffle ticket sales.