Recently, the Rockford and Machesney Associated Bank branches held their third-annual Chili Cook-Off event as a United Way fundraiser. Each branch entered chefs to compete for a chance to win one of three categories: Hottest Chili, Presentation, or Overall Best Tasting Chili.

Colleagues who wanted to enter the chili cook-off made a $5 donation and attempted to present a chili that put all others to the test.

A group of judges from the United Way committee went from branch to branch judging each recipe. Colleagues in each competing location were also offered a taste for lunch in exchange for a donation to the 2014 United Way Campaign. Together, the locations collected a total of $149 from colleagues.

“I decided to put my family recipe to the test,” said Kim Rodriguez, the winner of the overall best tasting chili. Winners from each category were:

  • Hottest Chili — Alessandra Saldana, teller-community market, Rockford Main Associated Bank.
  • Overall Best Tasting Chili — Kim Rodriguez, teller-community market, Rockford Perryville Associated Bank.
  • Presentation — In-Store 11th St. Associated Bank and Downtown Rockford Associated Bank.

“We are very grateful to have Associated Bank colleagues join us in raising funds for United Way,” said Paul Logli, president and CEO of United Way. “Their efforts have always been a huge help to us and we are thankful for that.”

Judges of the annual chili cook-off were, left to right: Paul Logli, president and CEO of United Way; Thomas Kress, Rockford Associated Bank president; and Loren Piotrowski, associated investment services (AIS) regional sales manager.