Diary Of An Entry-Level Employee That’s Trying Too Hard: Company Chili Cookoff


Gil Humplestead is a 23-year-old, recent college graduate who just got his first real job as a Junior Marketing Assistant Coordinator with Incorporated Partners & Co. Today, he chronicles his attempt at winning his company’s annual chili cookoff.

Diary! What’s crackin? It’s Gil again.

Work is going great. Had my 90-day performance review last week and that went okay, I guess. It was with my manager, Terry, and some dude named Jim. Terry said Jim was some sort of consultant. When he said “consultant,” it reminded me of Office Space and the Bobs. What a classic movie. What I learned from that movie is that the more it seems like you don’t give a hot crap about your job, the more likely it is you become CEO. So I took Gibbons’ lead and really laid the I-don’t-give-a-crapness on thick.

Consultant Jim stayed pretty quiet and took notes for the most part, but Terry really put me through the fire. It was like being in the boardroom on The Apprentice and Terry was the Donald and I was Mark Cuban, going toe-to-toe at the negotiator’s table. Terry kept asking questions about my commitment and kept asking me if I wanted to be here. I shot back at him, “Well, Terr Bear, do I want to be here? No. But does a shark really want to eat killer whales? No. But they do it, anyway.”

Terry just sat there in shock, closed his padfolio and told me we were done. I came out on top. That’s just what I do. I am a steely-eyed power broker who paves the path of success with a 25-ton, gold-plated bulldozer. That’s a good title for my memoirs.

After my rap sesh with Terry and Jim, I headed to the break room for my afternoon power coffee. I was having an intern bring it to me everyday at 2:32pm, specifically, but Terry put a stop to that. He’s obsessed with keeping me down on the lower rungs of the ladder of success.

I was pouring my coffee and noticed a sign up sheet for the company holiday chili cookoff. Yes! They don’t call me “Gil Fieri” for nothing. I’ve been watching tons of Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible lately and picked up a thing or two from Taffer and Chef Robert Irvine. Maybe not about chili, but I know the basics about how to run your own restaurant, which is gonna come in handy when I open my megachain of power lunch restaurants, Humplestead’s Steak & Scotch House. “Hey John, the CEO. Where we goin’ for lunch today?” “Hey Jeff, the employee. Let’s celebrate another meaty quarter in the black at Humplestead’s. Steak and scotch on me, boys.” And then I just make fat stacks.

I hit the grocery store after work to pick up a little more than my normal weekly provision of protein powder, ribeye and American cheese. Gil’s azz-kickin’ chili (that’s what I’m calling it) is going to take this country by storm and will probably be the most popular item at Humplestead’s Steak & Scotch House. Ground beef in a tube (you can get like eight pounds for three dollars), baked beans, raw jalapenos, ketchup, Sriracha, onions and whiskey, just to give it a little kick.

I had all the ingredients to make Gil’s azz-kickin’ chili and threw them all in the pot to stew over night. Chili pretty much cooks itself, so I left it on the stove, queued up all the episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on my DVR that prominently feature Scott Disick in them and settled in for a nice night of culinary prowess and French-collared hilarity. Disick is the man. He’s got it all figured out.

The smell of chili was pretty potent throughout my apartment, but it’s always smelly right at the start. Food never smells good until it’s cooked, anyway. After about my sixth scotch and Dr. Pepper, I was getting a little drowsy. My chili still smelled like garbage, but I figured I just needed to let it stew overnight to really let the flavors mingle.

I woke up the next morning at my usual 8:30am and my apartment smelled great. The chili was a success! The ingredients had boned all night and created beautiful flavor children that would soon be in the mouths of my coworkers. I was gonna take it all down. I blew the Halloween costume contest, and I vowed revenge. Today would be the day.

The chili looked like a pasty, reddish/pinkish cream color, but it smelled amazing, like a McDonald’s combined with a barber shop. Trust me, that smells amazing.

Showed up to work with a full pot of Gil’s azz-kickin’ chili and stowed it away in the fridge. I shot confident glances around the office, letting everyone know that GAKC (Gil’s Azz-Kickin’ Chili) would be taking home the blue ribbon and the $50 gift card to Longhorn Steakhouse that came with it.

I put my pot of chili on the canned heat they had set up and I decided to take the top off of the pot to let the fragrance of GAKC penetrate the nostrils of my coworkers. That’s right.

I labeled my chili and went back to my desk, but I kept checking back in the break room to check out who else was tossing their hat into the ring with the GoAT GFH (Greatest of All-Time, Gil Fuckin’ Humplestead). Steve from accounts brought some chili verde. I respect the move, Steve, but newsflash: chili verde hasn’t been cool since the ’90s. Of course, Terry had to try to be better than everyone and brought some monstrous bucket of horse slop that he was trying to pass off as his own. $20 bucks says his wife made it. Sandy from reception must’ve been confused about everything because she brought some cheese rotel dip in a crockpot.

The contest started around lunchtime and I stood behind my masterpiece and invited the office to take a ride on Gil’s slow-cooked, savory meat river. Sharon from accounts was the first to try it out. She started off with just a little scoop. Fair enough, leave some room for the B-team’s chili. I get it. This is such a participation trophy society. Sharon was overcome with emotion as she tasted my masterpiece. Her eyes welled up with tears and began laughing violently. It was a laugh/cry/coughing mixture that sounded like she just couldn’t handle all of the flavors the GAKC was throwing at her.

About an hour later, all of the chili was gone and the voting process began. I noticed there were a bunch of bowls with my chili still in them. I think people thought it was a delicacy or something and didn’t want to be rude. You don’t see people eating huge portions of steak tartare, do you? Exactly. Well, not yet anyway. Not until the Steak Tartare Bucket is a featured app at Humplestead’s Steak & Scotch House.

Terry ended up winning it. Shocker. There’s gotta be some sort of company rule that prohibits a manager from winning office contests, especially twice in a row. Whatever, Terry. Good for you. Take your slob wife to Longhorn Steakhouse. It’ll probably take more than $50 to feed that hog, though. After she stuffs her face with an entire Texas Tonion, Western Cheese Fries and a cheese and bacon stuffed filet, you’ll be lucky if there’s anything left for you. I guess it’s the least you can do after she made you that garbage batch of chili. Didn’t even hold a flavor candle to the GAKC.

I’ll get Terry one of these days, diary. I had a sneaking suspicion that he’s got it out for me, and now that he’s embarrassed me in the Halloween costume contest and the company chili cookoff, that’s all but confirmed.

Every dog has his day.

Hump. Out.

More Gil:
Buying Work Clothes
First Day
Training Seminar
First Sales Call
The Office Party
Hazing The Interns

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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