There comes a time in each Patch editor's life where they couldn't be prouder of the community they represent.
For me, that day came on Friday, when a group of our local bloggers and I competed and took home third for best chili at Castro Valley Rotary's 21st annual Chili Cook-Off.
Not only did (of course, being Patchy, had to go green), we were able to give back to the community by donating our prize money to Save Our Schools Castro Valley! (SOSCV!).
After a week of voting on non-profits selected by each blogger, SOSCV! to receive our winnings.
This entire experience epitomizes that Patch is more than just a website that provides news and information to its towns, but rather brings neighbors together to bond and benefit their communities.
Although we received plenty of praise from our readers, none of this would have been possible without the support of Castro Valley itself.
I want to take the time to recognize the people that really made our first cook-off experience an unforgettable one.
All our bloggers who made up team Chili Patch not only helped in the entire process of this competition (planning, prepping, serving, winning), they each provided special skills, extra hands, and enthusiam, which brought us the win this year.
, round of applause for coming up with the award-winning green chili recipe. A lot of love went into this chili verde, folks. Rachel held two chili tastings prior to the competition and hosted the chili prep party in her home. She even got her husband, Mauricio, and two sons to help throughout the competition as well.
Sarah Reynaga truly lived up to her title as the Hayward Coupon Queen. She did an amazing job using her money-saving skills to connect with some outstanding sponsors. She also put her booming voice to work, making sure people knew we weren't just serving another cup of red chili at the competition.
Dr. Joelle Abrams of welcomed us to hold our chili tastings at her veterinary hospital. Despite not being able to eat the pork we used in our dish, she had to suffer through two evenings of the sensational smells wafting through her lobby.
Cisco Diaz, schlepped over a truck-load of unique pieces from his local shop, , to decorate our booth with on the day of the cook-off. The "green" products from his store were all found at Bay Area flea markets, estate and garage sales, swap meets and salvage yards, for resale.
If you tried our green chili, chances are it was Dorothy Theodore who served it to you. For practically three hours straight, she was dishing out the chili verde from our giant pot of deliciousness.
Raymond and Matthew Day made their rounds at the cook-off, interviewing folks for their upcoming video food blog segment of Day2Day Eats.
Some other folks that also deserve the spotlight are our sponsors. Without their support, placing in the competition with our chili verde would never have become a reality.
Dan Willits of , who not only offered financial support but was also an active team player doing everything from participating in the chili tastings and offering input to helping peel, dice and chop away at the prep party.
created our team Chili Patch banner that we hung proudly at our booth.
owner Javier Pena provided us with a generous discount on fresh produce and ingredients used in our award-winning chili.
Despite being a Castro Valley resident for 17 years, it was my first time attending the chili cook-off. But after an experience like this, I can truly say that great things definitely come to those who wait!