Mac N Cheese Fest takes Macomb by storm

Devon Greene, editor-in-chief

Six teams stepped up to the plate, but only one could step out of the American Legion as champion, the Mac N Cheese champion of Macomb, Ill. that is.

The community gathered at the American Legion on Thursday night for the first ever Mac N Cheese Fest competition, hosted by the School of Agriculture. So many people came that many of the teams ran out of Mac N Cheese over 30 minutes before the event came to a close.

In previous years, the School of Agriculture hosted a Chili Cook-off, but they decided to switch it up this year to keep the event fresh.

Each of the six teams were confident in their Mac N Cheese, but most of the teams just wanted everyone to have fun and enjoy the day. The Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity was one of the teams involved and they came in with a first place title under their belt after a victory in the Chili Cook-off last year.

“I just hope everybody did well,” member Trent Porter said. “After trying them all, they were all pretty good. I like ours though. It’s kind of exotic and we wanted to do something no one else would have.”

Their Mac N Cheese differed from the rest by being cajun style, with bits of sausage, shrimp and some spice behind it. Another variation on the Mac N Cheese came from the Sigma Alpha sorority who had a buffalo chicken version for participants to gobble down.

The rest of the participants included the Collegiate Farm Bureau, the Livestock Judging Team, the Horticulture Club and the CFFA/AgEd/PAS club.

A first-time participant in any cook-off was the Livestock Judging Team. They transferred from a junior college and hoped to make a big splash on the scene.

“I think we did good,” member Stewart Andres said. “Everybody seemed to work well together and it was fun to get in the kitchen.”

There were two titles up for grabs, the People’s Choice and the Judge’s Choice. There were four judges, who all came from various places around Macomb. Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, Executive Director of University Communications, Darcie Shinberger, Academic Advisor, Ember Keithey and Associate Director of Student Activities, Nick Katz.

When it was time for the titles to be handed out, a silence fell over the room as the crowd waited in anticipation for the crown to be handed to the Mac N Cheese champion of Macomb. In surprising fashion, the Livestock Judging team took home both top prizes, winning the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice.

“It feels pretty cool,” Andres said. “It was awesome to do that and be the first to win the Mac N Cheese contest.”

When asked if the Livestock Judging Team was going to defend their title next year, Andres had three words.

“More than likely,” Andres said.