Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2014

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Las Vegas veterans groups plan chili contest as benefit for slain Sparks teacher’s family

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Chili samples will be available Saturday.

If you go

  • The chili competition will begin at noon and will be judged at 2 p.m. A panel of five judges will rate two styles of chili: Texas (with no beans) and open ingredient. Contest entry fees are $25 for professional chefs and $10 for student and amateur chefs. There will be prizes for first, second and third place, as well as a people’s choice award. Interested contestants must register at Le Cordon Blue Las Vegas by 10 p.m. Friday. A $5 fee will be charged to guests tasting the chili.
  • The entry fee for the pie-eating contest is $5. There also will be an auction for the pie-in-the-face auction to “pie” any volunteer chef instructor. There is a $2 entry fee for the blind taste test, which pits contestants against each other to guess flavors of various pureed vegetables and spices.
  • The events are all open to the public, and will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Las Vegas campus of Le Cordon Bleu, 1451 Center Crossing Road.

A chili cook-off this weekend will benefit the family of the Sparks Middle School teacher killed in last month’s tragic schoolyard shooting.

The Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas Student Veterans Club is partnering with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12119 in Las Vegas to stage the chili contest Saturday. All of the proceeds will go to the family of Michael Landsberry.

Landsberry — a beloved math teacher, Air Force reservist and former Marine who served in Afghanistan — was killed Oct. 21 while protecting students and staff from a 12-year-old boy who opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun in the Sparks middle school yard. Two 12-year-old students were injured in the shooting; the shooter — also a student — committed suicide.

The Le Cordon Bleu Student Veterans Club, which has more than 20 members, decided to mount the chili cook-off to help Landsberry’s family. Landsberry, 45, leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters.

“What (Landsberry) did was incredible,” said club commander Daniel Schneider, a Le Cordon Bleu student chef and Army veteran. “He was there teaching children and he sacrificed his life to save those children. I just wanted to show our appreciation for what he did.”

About 50 chefs from across the Las Vegas Valley are expected to participate in the chili contest. There will be professional chefs from high-end Strip restaurants, such as Sage and Hakkasan, as well students from Le Cordon Bleu, amateur chefs and professional catering chefs.

In addition to the chili cook-off, Saturday’s event will feature a blind taste test and a pie-eating contest. The events will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Las Vegas campus of Le Cordon Bleu, 1451 Center Crossing Road.

“The military loves chili and with the weather right now, it’s perfect,” Schneider said. “It’s something fun to do, and it’s for a good cause. We want to help (Landsberry’s family) out as much as we can.”

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