Chili cook-off raises money for Kidz Kove

Engineer and businessman Glenn Shaheen’s approach to cooking chili is simple.

“When everything is off the table, it’s ready,” Shaheen said Nov. 15 as he took part in the annual Gonzales Fire Department Chili Cook-Off and Sale.

Cooking partner Jake Lambert’s job was to pour the ingredients into the team’s pot of hot chili.

“I love to cook at tailgates, the camp and at home,” Shaheen said. “I love it when there’s lots of cooks to joke around with.”

He was in good company at last week’s contest as Jake’s dad, Van Lambert, competed next to Shaheen.

“It fun when you can pick on somebody else’s cooking,” Shaheen added.

The friendly ribbing was all for a good cause.

Cooking teams lined up in front of the Gonzales Public Safety Center to raise money for Project Kidz Kove, a fund-raising committee trying to reach a $1 million goal.

The money will be used to build Kidz Kove Discovery Park, an all-access park in Gonzales.

“We’re getting close,” PKK fundraising co-chairwoman Stacey Parker said.

In just two years, the group has raised close to $700,000 and has purchased the playground equipment that will be used at the park.

Parker said money has come from small groups donating a few dollars to large corporations putting thousands of dollars in the pot.

Recently, she said, a Boy Scouts of America troop donated $300 that was raised from a coin drive and a special-needs child raised $581 from asking guests at her birthday party to donate to the fund instead of giving her gifts.

The chili cook-off raised more than $5,000 from the sale of the chili cooked that day.

In the end, Gonzales Fire Department firefighter Preston Landry won the contest with Shaheen’s Glenn Shaheen and Associates team finishing in second place. Tony Tureau with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office won third place.