Ground beef wasn’t the only gold and bronze coloured treat to be had at the Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School chili competition in Cloverdale, B.C.

Last month, four Merritt Secondary School students took home medals for their chili cooking skills at the annual event.

There were 25 teams from various high schools that competed in the chili cooking categories of seafood, meat, poultry and “different,” MSS foods teacher Kathryn Johnson said.

Separated into two pairs, Elijah Mack and Sheldon Charters won the gold medal in the seafood category for their salmon chili, while the duo of Leah Collins and Chelsea Spence won the bronze for their turkey variety.

There were about five teams in each category, Johnson said.

As you would expect to see on a cooking show, these students had a time limit to have their meal cooked and plated for the five-judge tasting panel.

Students started cooking at 8:30 a.m. and needed their chili completed by 10:30 a.m., Johnson said.

This year, it wasn’t just the time limit that was an obstacle to overcome.

Johnson forgot to pack measuring spoons and measuring cups, so she improvised.

“I gave them a plastic teaspoon and I gave them a styrofoam cup,” Johnson said.

The cup was a little more than half a cup.

Johnson said the quartette did an awesome job thinking on their feet and under pressure.

“It just goes to show you how good our kids are here when they can think on their feet and adjust without measuring equipment,” Johnson said.

The four students can be found working in the food industry already, she said.

MSS has been well represented at the Lower Mainland-based cook off, earning at least one gold medal each of the past three years its students have competed.

Although the Lower Mainland could be considered a bit far for MSS to travel for a chili cook off, Johnson said she sends her culinary arts students to the competition because they need to experience being around kids their own age in different situations.

She said competition such as these allow her students to see what kids are like in urban areas, realizing the difference from the rural community they come from.