Student pursues passion for culinary at RCBC
Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022

Diana Walker stirring chili

Since childhood, Diana Walker had always wanted to become a chef, but before she even stepped foot into a culinary class, she enrolled at Rowan College at Burlington County to overcome a language barrier and set herself up for success.

“I am from Ecuador; when I came to the United States, I didn't speak English at all, so I had a difficult time because of the language,” Walker recalled. “I heard about RCBC from a friend, and one day I decided to stop by and ask about the English courses. I had a good adviser; I am very thankful because I improved my English, and I found a better job. RCBC has great English professors, and that made me decide to pursue a career.”

Walker won the college’s Men’s Health Night Chili Cook-Off, a competition pitting four student competitors against one another with the goal of raising awareness for men’s heart health. The prize for winning the competition was that her recipe would be entered in Mount Holly’s Fire and Ice competition. However, since the competition was snowed out, her batch was used for a Super Bowl party on campus. Her recipe, which includes sweet Italian sausage, jalapeno peppers and red wine can be found below. 

“I feel great winning RCBC’s competition,” Walker said. “It was a wonderful experience.”

After earning her degree, Walker hopes to eventually open her own bakery. She’s off to a great start, as she currently works for L&M Bakery as a decorator. During her free time, she enjoys walking in the park while listening to the sounds of the birds. 

“Cooking is my passion, and I am so happy that I am following my dreams.”

To learn more about RCBC’s culinary programs, visit  

Diana Walker’s Award-Winning Chili Recipe

Ingredients (4 portions)

½ lb. ground beef

½ lb. sweet Italian sausage

1 cup onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced 

5 oz chopped scallion  

5 oz parsley

1 jalapeno, finely chopped 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

28oz can diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp. cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder 

2 Tbsp dried oregano 

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

¾ cup red wine

1 cup beef stock

20 oz red kidney beans 

Salt and pepper, to taste

For Garnish

Cheddar cheese

Corn tortilla chips


In a large pot, cook ground beef and Italian sausage over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, scallion, garlic and jalapeno. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for around 8 minutes. Then, add the wine, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, tomato paste, thyme and oregano, and stir. Cook for 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, beef stock and parsley; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Taste for seasoning. Serve with cheddar cheese and corn tortilla chips.