Interview with Taps Chef Abe Asay Grand Champion of the 2015 Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff

Does Real Chili Have Beans?

(See Chef Abe Asay’s Opinion On This Topic On Page 3 and his Award Winning Chili Recipe on Page 4)

We judged in this year’s competition and we had a few people come up to me and say “Did you know real chili is not made with beans?”.  We did a search on Google this morning “real chili is made with beans” and it returned 345,000,000 results, and “real chili is made without beans” we it showed only 40,700,000 search results.  But what showed up at the top of each search was the History of Chili from the ICS International Chili Society.  On their website they provide:

From the time the second person on earth mixed some chile peppers with meat and cooked them, the great chili debate was on; more of a war, in fact. The desire to brew up the best bowl of chili in the world is exactly that old.

In their historical facts they also provide:

There may not be an answer. There are, however, certain facts that one cannot overlook. The mixture of meat, beans, peppers, and herbs was known to the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan Indians long before Columbus and the conquistadores.

chili with black beansIn the 1950s a columnist wrote an article about chili and said that it should be made with beans. Another journalist during the same decade from Texas also wrote and article about chili and provided his best recipe (no beans to be found in it).

Carroll Shelby (the famous auto maker and chili products) seems to have settled it for everyone by saying:

“The beauty of chili to me is that it’s really a state of mind,” he says. “It’s what you want when you make it. You can put anything in there you want, make it hot or mild, any blend of spices you feel like at the time. You make it up to suit your mood.”

We don’t know about the debate of beans or no beans, but I think Shelby was talking about the crowd of people who showed up at the Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff.  There were people from all walks of life enjoying themselves (beans or no beans).


3 thoughts on “Interview with Taps Chef Abe Asay Grand Champion of the 2015 Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff”

  1. Great interview with Abe from Taps…he’s the man that makes it all happen. That’s a very complex Chili recipe with 23 ingredients including Rooster Sauce ????…mine has about 5 ingredients…no wonder he walked away with the Judges AND The People’s Choice top awards at this years event. He’s a Chili Genius!

  2. Abe has always done a great job down at TAPS so it’s no surprise he came up with the Grand Champion chili this year. Congrats and good luck at the World Food Championships!

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