CHILI CHAMP: The food contest bug is running rampant in The Santa Barbara Independent‘s Figueroa Street offices, where we threw our first ever chili cook-off at the end of June. Emerging as champ was advertising designer and Goleta native Marianne Kuga, who concocted a batch based on something her brother made years ago. “Our family’s not really big on chili, but that’s the only recipe we ever make,” said Kuga, who divulged her secret ingredient to be El Pato Salsa and also made some bacon-cheddar cornbread and fresh squeezed lemonade to sweeten her pot. Will she try her hand at the upcoming Guac-Off and Tequila Takedown contests that the paper is hosting to coincide with Fiesta? “I am entering both!” she confirmed.