May 30, 2024

The Office’s Brian Baumgartner Spills the Beans on Chili and Barbecue

This week on Chefs Without Restaurants, I speak with Brian Baumgartner, the actor best known for his role as Kevin Malone on the TV show "The Office."

Brian’s portrayal of Kevin provided countless laughs and unforgettable moments, especially the iconic chili scene. Beyond his on-screen persona, Brian has ventured into the culinary world, turning a 30-second cold open into a culinary journey that includes a best-selling chili cookbook and an upcoming barbecue book.

On the show, we dive deep into Brian’s experiences on "The Office," uncovering the behind-the-scenes magic that made the show a cultural phenomenon. We discuss the initial fears of cancellation, the unique documentary-style filming, and why the show still resonates with audiences today.

We also explore the famous chili episode, discussing how it was conceived, what went into filming that messy, memorable scene, and how it led to Brian’s unexpected foray into the culinary world. Brian shares his adventures at chili cook-offs, the diversity of chili recipes, and his tips for creating the perfect pot of chili.

But the culinary talk doesn’t stop there. Brian shares his love for barbecue, his favorite techniques and recipes, and the communal joy of outdoor cooking. Whether it’s grilling with friends or perfecting a tri-tip, Brian’s passion for cooking shines through.

Buy Brian's books Seriously Good Chili Cookbook and Seriously Good Barbecue Cookbook as well as Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office
Brian's Instagram and TikTok
Brian's podcast: Off the Beat with Brian Baumgartner

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05:58 - Documentary Style and Timelessness

11:56 - Iconic Chili Scene

20:03 - Kevin’s Cooking Habits

23:33 - Brian’s Transition to Cookbook Author

30:02 - Judging Chili Competitions

39:02 - Brian’s Barbecue Book

49:29 - Favorite Barbecue Sides



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Whether you cook professionally or just at home, I'm sure many of you can relate to this. You've made something you're really excited about eating. Maybe it's just for you.

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Maybe it's for a party, and then something goes wrong. It can be dropping that freshly made sandwich on the floor or realizing that you added salt instead of sugar to that dessert you made. One time, I made a pot of my family's special baked beans for an event. And my dad left them on the counter overnight, and they had to be thrown out. And the fans of the office listening, if so you probably remember Kevin Malone and his pot of chili. He was all excited to bring in a pot of chili he'd made to share with his coworkers. And after schlepping it up the stairs.

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Tragically, he spilled the entire pot on the office carpet.

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Well, today, my guest is none other than Brian Baumgartner, the actor who brought Kevin to life on the TV show The Office.

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Brian's portrayal of Kevin provided countless laughs many unforgettable memories, and of course, the iconic chili scene.

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If you've ever wondered about the logistics of that scene, or would just love some behind the scenes details from an Office Insider this episodes for you.

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This is Chris spear and you're listening to Chefs Without Restaurants. The show where I usually speak with culinary entrepreneurs and people working in the food and beverage industry outside of a traditional restaurant setting.

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I have 31 years of working in kitchens, but not restaurants and operate a personal chef service throwing dinner parties in the Washington DC area.

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Again, I am thrilled to have Brian on the show today. The office is one of my all time favorite TV shows, and I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

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There's so much more to Brian than his onscreen persona. He's an author, a cooking enthusiast, and someone who transformed a 32nd cold open on a TV show into a culinary journey. You might not know this, but in 2022, Brian released the seriously good chili cookbook, which has 177 recipes on it. Well now Brian's back with the seriously good barbecue cookbook, which comes out on June 11. And it's packed with over 100 recipes.

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And I'm gonna go ahead and drop my call to action a little early here. If you share this episode on social media, I will randomly select one person to win a copy of either seriously good chili or seriously good barbecue. It's your choice. All you have to do is share the episode on social media, Instagram, Facebook, ex threads, YouTube, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, wherever you are these days, just make sure you screenshot it and send it to me.

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The easiest way for me to see it is actually if you tag Chefs Without Restaurants on your post. That's my handle on most platforms. And if you don't tag me publicly or can't find me, you can message me or DM it to me on any of those platforms. Or send me a screenshot in an email to chefs without And I usually share promo videos from the episode on Instagram. If you just want to share that to your Instagram story. That works too.

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So on today's show, there's a decent amount of talk about the office. And we definitely talk about the cookbooks Brian's adventures judging a chili cook off and what his top sides to eat with barbecue are. My only regret is that I was unable to work. That's what she said into the episode. So if you'd like the office, chili and or barbecue, I think you're going to enjoy this episode. As always, thanks so much for listening, and have a great week. Hey, Brian, welcome on the show. Thanks so much for coming on.

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My pleasure.

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Thanks for having me.

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I'm absolutely thrilled to have you here today.

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You're someone who's on one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and probably one of the best ensemble comedy shows I think ever. I'm sure you would agree. I think most of the world agrees that

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I mean, I mean, come on, you're on The Office.

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Looking at the people who've come off of that show. When you guys were doing that, did you have any idea how special that show was? Or was gonna be? Or did you think you're gonna get cancelled? Like after the first six episodes?

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No, we thought we were going to be canceled after six episodes. But I knew that the people that were working on the show, how the show was constructed, the types of things that we were talking about, meaning social issues, issues of race and gender and sexual harassment politics surrounding the office place. I knew that it was cool and different. I just figured it was too different. And people were not going to give it a chance to stay on so. So that's the two part answer to your question.

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Uh, yeah, we all sort of thought we were done after six and then again after just 12. But from the beginning, it wasn't because I didn't think that what we were doing was valuable it was because I just thought it was going to be too different, too bold at that time to survive on network television. Well,

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Neil's have a subset of people who were fans of the original I had seen the original before that right and I remember watching the first episode, which was almost like a shot for shot remake, right. And I remember watching him like Oh my god, they're doing like the stapler and the jello. We're just gonna have like, 12 episodes of them doing the same stuff. It was done. But I mean, like, very quickly, you're like, oh, no, this is, uh, you know, same but different show. It's great. I watched the whole series all the way through, but my son who's 11 recently found it. So we're doing a watch through together, which is fun, because I haven't seen it in so long. Although, you know, weird things come up. Like, my son also didn't know that anal fissures were a thing that I had to explain to him. elevens

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a little young, I'm not gonna lie. I mean, it's a mix. It's

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a mixed bag.

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It's certainly not unprecedented. I mean, I have people come up at like seven or eight years old.

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And I'm like, I don't know. My My kids are are six and nine.

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They have not watched it yet. To be clear. But that's also partly I think, cuz, you know, it's kind of weird. To Watch dad. But yeah, sometimes

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you go back and you watch like a show from 10 years ago. And you're like, ooh, that didn't age. Well, just, you know, not only the jokes, but just the quality. And you're like, Oh, I guess the show, you know, didn't stand the test of time the way I thought it would.

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But everything I've seen so far is held up pretty well. Well, I think

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there's a reason for that. I mean, I did write a book and created a podcast sort of around answering this question. I do think there's a very, very specific reason of why it does. I mean, one to your point, it's pretty smart. And the writing is pretty smart and funny. But too, it's a documentary. Right? I mean, it's it's a mockumentary, but it's a documentary. And so what happens is, is that because it's shot in that way, it is literally a show about a very specific place in a very specific time, in a very specific city state region. And so if you go back and you watch a documentary, say about the 1960s, you don't look at that and say, Oh, that's dated, right? No, because he's upset about it. That's what it was. So I think like, particularly like, you know, early on the lack of an iPhone, or you know, or even, you know, smartphones in general, I mean, that we sort of birthed that, you know, that, that that sort of happened while we were on and the show sort of morphed with that as that whole sort of new era of tech was beginning and then thriving. So I think I do think that's why psychologically, you don't have that like, oh, it's, it's dated, because, yeah, I mean, you don't make fun of or you might make fun of what people wore in the 60s. But you at the same time, you don't go oh, this is a dated documentary, you're like, oh, no, well, this is about what it was. So like, our sort of timeless, you know, this also helps the sort of, like, timeless, department store to be nice, basic work attire. It just sort of is what it is, as well, right. Yeah. And

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I have to say what when you say work attire, really quickly I am. I went to a concert a couple of weeks ago, and I want some new clothes. And I went to Goodwill. And I accidentally bought a woman's shirt that was and I didn't realize it until I was in Baltimore at a show and went to button it and I immediately had to come home and find the Michael Scott women's suit episode. And you know, watching that the first time I never thought I'd be the guy who bought women's clothes and wore them out and wouldn't notice.

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Yeah, but you know, one thing I really noticed, especially as I've watched it, again, is how dramatic so much especially as you get into the gym, Pam Roy like uncomfortably so like, for all the humor in it and the cringe worthy like Michael Scott jokes, watching that made me uncomfortable, you know, where like, maybe Jim and Pam are flirting, and Roy comes up and like, catches them. And it's like, what's going on? Like, I felt like getting anxiety and tension. So there was a lot of that it showed a lot of depth to the show that wasn't just this comedy, but there were a lot of those moments where you could kind of feel that and it almost made me feel a little uncomfortable. But you know, in a good way showing that it was such a well crafted show

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that, you know, I think the show sort of brought back at least and showed that it can thrive on network television, is this whole notion of of cringe comedy so there is a part of that and part of it is the inappropriate things that are being said largely by Michael but also just the way that it makes you feel and I think that there's a part of it is the way the show is shot, which is a little spy II you know it is and and the fact that you know there was a decision had to be made in every scene, which added another layer to the show than essentially any other show, which is, as this interaction is playing out between these people, are they aware that the camera is there?

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Are they acknowledging that the camera is there? Or is the camera hiding? And they are being filmed unknowingly? And sort of how that dynamic just in and of itself changes behavior?

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Makes a makes a moment different. Right? Like, you can particularly see it in the Michael Scott character, like, Is he performing for the camera?

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Is he getting caught by the camera? Or is he unaware that the camera is filming him at all right now and how how that alters his performance gives a whole just a whole other layer than then exists anywhere else where you're watching a television show, and that and you are just, it is just being filmed as this sort of like, I don't know, third person omniscient. Being that's just show showing you the action, there's no, there's no conversation about how that how that filming changes behavior, that it's not, it's not a part of that conversation. So, you know, that was something that was different and unique. And, and, you know, the show was coming about as reality television was coming about. And those were some of the types of things, particularly in terms of behavior, that the the higher ups, our bosses, Greg Daniels, our Creator, among others, were sort of exploring to the show.

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So well done. So well done. So I guess, you know, why are we on a show called Chefs Without Restaurants where I talk to people in the food and beverage business? Well, anyone I guess, who's a fan of the office, there was a chilly episode. It wasn't even an episode. It was like 30 seconds.

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I mean, I think one of the things that people remember most about Kevin is is his chili where you made your pot of chili and then dumped a pot of chili on the floor, which has led to a book on chili recipes. And we'll get into a little later a forthcoming book on barbecue. So we're talking about that, that chili episode a little bit. How was that presented to you? Like, did you just get a script one day and they talk you through?

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Like, you're gonna make this giant pot of chili and you're gonna spill it on the floor? And then slop around at it?

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Wow. I mean, it wasn't really presented to me. I mean, we we had been on a on a if things were running smoothly, I would say on you know, as we were shooting an episode, which was a one episode was one week, so Monday through Friday, and I would say on about a Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, at lunch, we would breed as a group, the next week's episode. So that was it. I mean, we we just, we read it, and someone has told me I had forgotten this. And this was, you know, I'm sure very, very well researched people from the internet. I, it's, it's where I heard it, and I still haven't gone back that I guess some writers said that this was originally supposed to be the open of a different episode. So we had read it and then ended up not shooting it. And then it subsequently came up and they sort of just took the entire thing and put it because that was the the we call them cold opens on on the show was the idea being that by and large, our episodes existed in one day, one, you know, beginning to end.

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And the cold opens were an opportunity largely for comedy sometimes, for other things, to sort of just take a moment in time sort of, you know, splice of life, if you will, moment that was sort of not connected to anything else, not even necessarily the time of year or, you know, what day it was was sort of unknown, generally not connected to anything else. So that's what it was. I have been told that the, the the scene the the episode, if you will, there was a lot of discussion in the writers room. The one writer in particular and I have not discussed this with them. So I'm not going to mention their names but apparently did not like it.

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Because and if you look at it, it is true. It is sort of unlike anything else that happened in the show ever, in that it was essentially a scene that played out with VoiceOver, you know, sort of an omniscient voiceover playing out over this continual action scene. I guess that writer got, you know, maybe one won a battle, but not the war.

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And they ended up doing it. And I just remember it being not even particularly like, memorable in like, this is so incredible, but more just like, Oh, here's a unique challenge.

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With things like, this is going to spill all over the carpet.

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How are we going to manage that?

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Like, yeah, did they

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tell you you have like, what was it? Like, you've got to get this done in one shot kind of thing.

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They had three gigantic pieces of carpet.

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Yeah. Okay.

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I was wondering, because, like, if you spill chili on your carpet at home, it's going to be stained for life, like need a new carpet?

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And, you know, I mean, these are professional people who obviously really know their job.

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I mean, they, it was like, not just like, oh, let's just throw some carpet over the carpet.

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That's there. No, I mean, it was like professionally, like, installed in a way like, quote, unquote, you know, so there wouldn't be any weird seams or like, you know, bumps or anything like that. And so they had three and, you know, because again, they didn't know exactly how big the mess was going to end up being. I mean, it was huge, because they couldn't, if it had spoiled a carpet underneath, this would have been a like, catastrophic issue for like, the rest of the week, although I think we did on Friday, but still, like, having to replace all of that was was not was not possible. So continuity,

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they should have left it forever, right? Like, I'm sure there's people on the internet or like, the next week, the stains God,

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it's just well, but see, but see, I, I, I made the point before you were able to make that point. See these moments happen out of time and space. So you know, everything else, right? Very, super realistic, if you will, in terms of the amount of time something would take or, you know, the progression from morning till night and how someone looked and, you know, all of that was they were very, very, very our script supervisor and continuity. Were very careful to cold opens were a little more like, you know, yeah, I mean, like what Dwight's desk gets, you know, wrapped, like, what, wrapping paper or whatever, you know, when did that happen? You know, our guests moved into the bathroom, like, when did that happen? How did it get back, these things were destroyed, you know, whatever. But again, those moments were sort of allowed to be outside of it. So you know, that was sort of a unique challenge and knowing how, what a big mess it was going to be and how difficult it was going to be to beat to do multiple takes. I mean, us getting it in one take was, I mean, something I was tremendously proud of them. And more so now, because so many people ask about it.

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Yeah, we were able to get it and in in one take.

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Are you done for the day at that point, like, your Oh, we worked? And you're like, oh,

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yeah, no, I mean, we were done. That was like the like I said, that was like the end of the day on a Friday,

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go to Chili's, get a drink now.

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You know, exactly like, Yeah, we were we were going to be done. And you know, there was so much preparation. So many tests of, you know, how this was going to spill and what it was going to do and where it was going to move and you know, all that stuff. And you know, I had multiple multiple outfits, you know, to you know, doubles and triples and quadruple I don't know how many outfits they had but you know to put me back to normal but I mean I've said it before and it really is it sounds like a joke but it's not.

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I don't think anyone could have imagined how to clean me well enough like we had everything else but we didn't have an extra one of me to like slide in and just my hands were a different color. Like it was just such a mess. And if we had had to go back again, I mean an hour it would have taken an hour and a half like just to get me back.

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Reasonable little, you know, to a reasonable beginning, you know, pre spill place it would have been a big deal. So thankfully we did get it. Well you

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are an actor a suit PERB actor of our time, so kudos to you. Well, thank

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you up. Do

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you think Kevin is someone who cooks like? Like, how much time do you put into thinking about like what this person is in the time that you don't see them on the show? So, you know, like Kevin's chili, I'm trying to figure out like, what kind of person who is Kevin? Is he someone who cooks at home all the time? Does he do take out? Like, what's your perception of Evan and his relationship to food?

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Very interesting. Question there. I mean, yeah, I think I think that after his fiancee, we find out his fiancee, Stacy, left, I think, probably pretty solitary.

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And probably a lot of takeout and just totally fine with that.

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But yeah, I mean, he is tremendously proud. I mean, look, you know, without getting too cheesy or sentimental, I think it's what the show is about, right. I mean, the very last line of the show tells you what it's about, which is, there's beauty and ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point. And I think that's what the show does is itself it aims to celebrate, quote, unquote, ordinary people and their small victories. So I mean, I think, you know, is the chile scene funny? Sure. I hope so. But I, I think more than that, it is a moment where it is it is sort of the physical embodiment of that idea, which is, you know, the creator of the show tells us what it's all about, which is, there's beauty and ordinary things. And this is a guy who you wouldn't expect would make unbelievable chili. But I think based on all of the information that we have, and the the the detail with which Kevin describes making the chili, I believe it is very, very delicious. i There's no indicators that it is terrible at all. It's a tragedy that he doesn't get to share it with his office workers on this particular day. But see, I think there are there were days, he tells us once a year, he likes to bring it in, that he brings it in, and people enjoy it. And I think you know, I think that that is, you know, that's what's important about the scene. And, and, and yeah, I think I think it's something he's proud of.

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So, you know, is he making, you know, pasta, or whatever, every night? I don't know about that.

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But I think there are a few things that he does well, and he enjoys doing well. And

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it's interesting, because I think of both like chili and barbecue as those kinds of things to you know, just a reference point, like, my dad is someone who I'd not say it's a cook, but has maybe like one or two recipes in his arsenal. And guys, you know, tend to sometimes gravitate towards like the grill and barbecue and smoking and stuff like this. I also wondered if you know, I've worked in kitchens where nobody's around, you scoop that stuff up and still serve it and it's um, you know, as I was watching it, you're scooping it back into the pot with you know, Manila fold or something. And like, oh, maybe if no one is around, it's just gonna go in the break room and and serve that up.

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No, I don't that I you know, look, again, if you if you go to when everybody showed up that day, that carpet hell of a paint. Yeah. There's no there was no disguising that for sure.

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So you've managed to turn this 32nd clip into, you know, a whole cookbook thing there. I need to get your PR people because, man, so you you put out a cookbook about Chile a couple of years ago, I'd love to, you know, I think there's a good transition into that book.

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Like, what? How and why did that come about? Was it something you had thought about? Like, as far back as when the show was on? Or was it like, when the show was over? You're like, yeah, you know, maybe we can turn this chili thing into a cookbook.

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This was more guided by the fans. And then what became my experience. I mean, I, I do cook, I love to cook. But I had never made chili. I mean, that wasn't that wasn't something that I grew up doing. Or I had, or, or more specifically, because there were a lot of things that the writer sort of got from the actors. So I think in that way, it's a fair point. Like, was this something that the, you know, the writers knew you enjoy doing or were good at? No, no, it was totally disassociated from me. So this was

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not Brian's chili.

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No, no, like,

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well, like an obvious example is are two examples. It's like I you know, me making 1315 foot basketball shots that was not faked like that. That was me. So that that idea came about because of me.

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Do I like to gamble and play poker? Absolutely. Was that aspect of Kevin, maybe did that come from me? Absolutely. Chile.

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No, not at all. And so I don't even know why I can't really go back and honestly tell you why.

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Except maybe I just thought it would sound good. That I this was years after. And look, let's be honest. I mean, it happened years after, in part because the show just kept getting more and more and more and more popular.

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So it wasn't like, oh, you know, five years after the show or whatever, like, oh, let's go back and do this thing. No, it's just had kept getting brought up and I sort of spontaneously with absolutely no agenda or anything. made chili. And then there wasn't even a plan. But then, like, I was finished making it and thought, oh, yeah, like, oh, I made that chili that time. And that's kind of a big deal for people. Let me take a picture of it and post it on Instagram. And then people went nuts. And I was like, huh, this is interesting. Like, okay, I didn't know. And, you know, part of it was by then I could post, uh, uh, you know, like, there was a time there, right?

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Especially Instagram was like, a food posting, like, people would post what they made or whatever, and, or I would be at a restaurant event or whatever.

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And the comments would just come like, why aren't you eating chili? Or where's the chili or don't spill the chili, or, you know, does that go good with chili or, like, whatever, it just sort of kept coming up. So I had the opportunity to go to like the World Championship Chili Cook Off to name one place where this was, was being made.

00:26:49.349 --> 00:28:18.000
And I had started to make it a little bit more sort of play with like, a recipe that I was sort of, you know, quote, unquote, perfecting or changing, you know, like you do with chili and, and well, really barbecue too. And had an opportunity to meet this world, the folks at this world championship Chili Cook Off. And this is not like, something that somebody invented last year, like, it's been going almost 60 years, and got them to agree to include a bunch of recipes, in, in a cookbook, and so that sort of came out of that sort of experience with the world of, of, well, the world of Chile, the sort of the culture of Chile and me learning way, way more about it. And you know, I mean, I tell people like before the book or anything, it was like, there's 177 Chili recipes and that, like, I thought there were I thought there were three recipes for chili. I thought there was, well maybe for like, there was mild, medium and hot and with or without beans, you know, like so many combinations that is like, that's sort of what I thought like, how much can you really do with this but then learning it and there's chicken and there's white bean and there's brisket and there's ground beef and turkey and

00:28:18.000 --> 00:28:20.880
Cincinnati deli, do you? Do you get down with that?

00:28:20.880 --> 00:28:22.589
Have you ever had like Skyline chili? Like,

00:28:23.159 --> 00:29:01.108
you know, I'm not gonna mention any. I'm not gonna have any brands specifically, but I am familiar with Cincinnati chili and in fact, my father and and his my grandparents were grew up in the Cincinnati area. And so I have had the opportunity to have Cincinnati chili a lot. It is not it is not my thing. The chili over noodles. I don't I don't need I don't I don't need that. So it's it's not really my thing. But hey, I don't mean to each their own. As far as I'm concerned. I don't I don't need to judge it. It's not my thing.

00:29:01.108 --> 00:29:08.068
You know, like, for me chili has beans in it. And I you know, I spent some time in Texas. I don't want to make anybody mad.

00:29:08.398 --> 00:29:33.689
Actually, I was in Texas last week, and I said something about it. And these were tech these were Texans. This wasn't like, you know, like transplant and they were like, oh, that's like a whole archaic thing. We don't because I've always been told like oh no, they'll fight you on this. Yeah, that's what I've heard too. Yeah. Like no, they will fight why why would like why is that such a big deal?

00:29:30.778 --> 00:30:01.679
These people were like, oh, no, who cares now like we eat it with beans or without beans or like and I was like, oh, okay, well, there you go. I learned something new. I probably had a big deal in my cookbook about how it's fighting words because that's what I've always been told by people but maybe that's more outsider I don't know. I don't want to get into this debate. I you know, for me, it's beans but also there are amazing recipes that that you know that don't utilise the being said about

00:30:01.680 --> 00:30:05.099
cinnamon you have any chili recipes have cinnamon in them, because that

00:30:05.099 --> 00:30:26.069
there are there are some in there with cinnamon. But here's the thing that I learned from. And I'm not saying cinnamon is bad, but particularly in this competition world, cinnamon and brown sugar.

00:30:17.849 --> 00:30:58.289
They are. And it's so great because now I've judged some stuff. And you can almost immediately taste it. And it is used. It's like, I don't know what this is. This is a cooking program and not this but like, sort of like whatever the thing is that that hides performance enhancing drugs peds it's like, that's how people view cinnamon and like brown sugar a little bit, not that some sweetness or, or some cinnamon flavor is bad.

00:30:53.730 --> 00:31:48.150
But if you can really taste it, and you can identify it, it is viewed as like, Oh, they're hiding. They're hiding some badness in there. And they're trying to like, butter you up with like, some sweetness. So that you know, and it ends up just SPOILER ALERT having the opposite effect because even if you kind of enjoy it as a as a judge, or whatever you're like, Yeah, but that's you're there like, I don't know, there's it's a it is a distinct flavor, believe it or not. And let me just say this too, because I haven't talked too much about this, I think you'll enjoy the process of judging. One of these things is and look I'm I'm no expert, you know, you're not.

00:31:44.220 --> 00:32:32.519
It's not like the, you know, the crazy, insanely talented, small yeas, right, who can sip up, you know, a wine and say like, you know, that's the 1985 French delicacy blah, blah, blah. So it's not like that, for me. It's like, oh, yes, well, it has hints of cumin and blackberry elder and like, I like I, you know, I don't have that. But so I felt very intimidated the first time I did it. So what it is, is they have 20 Like, and that's not a joke, like 2022 bowls of unmarked chili around a giant table. And you approach the table at a certain point.

00:32:29.250 --> 00:32:49.500
And there are multiple judges that are judging this group. And if it's the finals, obviously, you're deciding, you know, one, two, and three or whatever, but if not, you're literally passing on, say, three chilies from this table to the to the next group.

00:32:45.150 --> 00:32:54.180
And, you know, you start a certain place and you walk around the table, and then you can continue to walk around the table as many times as you want.

00:32:54.180 --> 00:33:39.750
If you're like, Well, I really liked 21 and also eight, let me taste eight, and then you walk over to 21 you can taste that again. And they they at least at the World Championships, they give you tortillas like little triangles of tortillas and sour cream, which you are supposed to eat one in between each one. So like, like cleanses your palate, and plenty of water. And you know, then you can walk around do that. So I was like through se nine of the first time I did it of like 22 I was through like nine and I was like, oh my god, what am I doing? Why am I here?

00:33:39.779 --> 00:33:58.589
Like, no, not? No, because you're much rich? No, but just I'm just like, why am I here? I don't know what I'm doing. And you start feeling like, oh, no, like, how do I how can I evaluate this and that and, and you get sort of like, you know, I got sort of like in my head for a brief period of time.

00:33:58.950 --> 00:34:19.289
Anyway, point being I finished and went around and was like, Okay, well, these are, you know, my top three and blah, blah, blah. So then we leave, we submit the results. So this is there was no tampering, there's no cheating and leave. And there are a couple of people who were judging my table that I knew.

00:34:19.829 --> 00:34:47.280
And so I'm like, Oh, I think I said before I was like write down what your numbers are. Just write them so that we can talk about it. And as we're leaving, I'm like, Alright, so what were your top three and I'm telling you with with like three or four different people 22 chilies all around the table. They were the same. Like you there's something about it like you when it's good. For whatever reason, like you, you can feel that it's good and that it's different. I mean, that's the only way I can explain Can

00:34:47.280 --> 00:34:58.949
you like do you know what that is like now in hindsight like that it was a spice or something or the texture like did you ever figure out what it was about those particular ones that well

00:34:58.980 --> 00:35:32.039
so the one The one that sort of the main one is they call it homestyle, which basically does mean with beans. And that's it. So it is chili with beans, but it could be like my favorite one. So the so my, my top one ended up being number two, but like I think it was my number two ended up winning. And so it was, you know, it was all very clear.

00:35:32.070 --> 00:35:42.809
This was this was this first year, my number one which I which, honestly like me walking in the room, I'm like, is this chili? I don't Is this a soup?

00:35:38.579 --> 00:38:02.820
Like, what is this? Was this smoked chicken white being like a white chili. So it's competing against like, what you would think of as like, chill, like the red, you know, more sort of traditional ground beef or whatever. But there could be a vegetarian one with like, within this as well. Or like turkey or, you know, at least when I'm judging Oh is right down to help remind me I just right, cubed, you know, but like cube steak or, you know, more like brisket II or something. So, yeah, so, so that's also like, you know, making the was like, wow, like, my mind is like blown by all of the different kinds. And, yeah, it. So So in terms of like, is there a unifying thing? No, because they are all so different. But you know, for me, a lot of it is I've definitely have not talked about this. But I don't know if this makes sense to you, you know, when you when you try something, right. And if there's any, let's call it a complex dish that is eaten together, right. So I'm not talking about a piece of chicken or whatever. And it tastes harmonious and together, everything is working together, as opposed to the sort of layered like, oh, I can taste hot sauce with bean and but but the somehow the flavor isn't fully in the meat also, like the meat is sort of seems separate and all of that. That's a big part of it. For me. That's a that's a big and I'll give you my one. Other than don't overcook the onions, which is true. The other one is I like if you want spice, and it's for that reason that I just talked about alone. If you want spice, cayenne pepper, and you don't have to use a lot of it actually helps bring things together.

00:37:58.860 --> 00:38:12.360
Whereas I feel like a lot of people put in hot sauce. And that doesn't. It doesn't congeal is the wrong word. But it does.

00:38:10.829 --> 00:38:12.360
There's like

00:38:12.360 --> 00:38:23.760
acidity and other stuff going on, like as hot sauces have, you know, varying levels of things, but like, quite often there's vinegar in there and other things. And it's not just like the pure raw heat.

00:38:20.489 --> 00:38:23.760

00:38:23.998 --> 00:38:40.018
Yeah. And so that so that is that's a tip of mine. Like I don't I don't use I don't use hot sauce at all in in Chile because of that, because I feel like you can taste that separately as opposed to having it be a part of the thing. Yeah,

00:38:40.050 --> 00:39:29.159
it's like a music, right? Like good music is, you know, five, or however many 10 instruments and things coming together harmoniously. But sometimes you hear something and it's like, wow, are these guys even on the same page? Like, I don't want to hear the guitar and the drum. Like separately, it should blend a little together. And I think any, you know, creative thing. Yeah, I see a lot of parallels with that in my mind. Yeah. So we've got Chile. And now I guess we should probably talk about you have another book coming out. That's a cookbook and I guess a little over a month now or maybe a little under a month. About barbecue. So were you a barbecue guy. Are you someone who like grills and smokes at home and stuff like that? Like yeah, the decision to do a barbecue book that that seemed pretty natural for you like once you did the chili cookbook? Yeah,

00:39:29.188 --> 00:42:19.708
that was that. That's me. I mean, that is what I do. I mean, I I love doing it. I mean, I mean the similarities with Chile I think are which is which I think is why why I do enjoy Chile and the culture of Chile is this sort of communal nature. I mean, I would joke when I was talking about the chili cookbook, like very few people make a pot of chili for themselves like 70 freely pretty weird. Yeah, like you're making it because you're having a gathering Oh, there's a sports event or, you know, some, you know, a big dinner that you're having with with friends and family. And oftentimes, and I think this is more so true with barbecue and grilling, your your people are doing it together. I mean this no joke. Last night, I had a friend over. And I was trying to do I wasn't cooking something different. But I was using a different technique to try to cook some try to with, by the way, varying results, like I'll be honest, like, okay, that cooked way faster than I thought it was going to okay. But I mean, this was, you know, tried to is not really a slow slow cooked up meat, but still, like getting the you know, getting the wood that goes we've used fire getting the woods sort of just right, and how long that was going to take and getting the temperature and all I mean, we were outside. Even for something that was not supposed to be slow cooked, it was an hour and a half or more two hours, that we were fiddling around with it and you know, maybe had an adult beverage or two and had a great time doing it. And, you know, the meat didn't turn out exactly, as well. But I also made chicken as well, the chicken was like, which we thought was a disaster was actually totally delicious and good. And, you know, that tried to we like, Okay, well next time, we'll do this differently. And you know what we probably will like, he'll come over again. And we'll do it again. And it will be way way better. But that sort of communal experience, I enjoy that and more than anything I enjoy. I enjoy just doing. I'm not a I'm not a big How do I say this? I, the sitting around and chatting is great, that's great.

00:42:20.128 --> 00:42:45.688
But if you can hang out and chat and also have an activity that you're doing with that thing, for me even better, like even even better. And I think it it is very connecting. And, and, and makes people closer together by doing that thing. So I really enjoy it. When

00:42:45.690 --> 00:43:35.280
especially if you're doing something that's a little longer, like cooking meat, where it makes it feel like less like a chore. You know, two things I've gotten into a lot is I like to do tacos and make my own tortillas. But also pizza, I recently got an Guney oven. And that is as fun as that is. And I don't know if you've done pizza, it's a task when you're trying to feed more people. So I have a family of six at my house. So like that's a one hour process, you know, because every pizza you pitch in and they're not huge. It's like, okay, it's in there for seven minutes and it's done. Here's one person's pizza. You know, now I'm going back outside to do another and an hour later everyone's eaten but me so that's more of those things that's more suited like we're all outside around the oven and we can just fire it up and share it as opposed to like you know, weeknight dinner let's get food on the table. That's not really what I want to be doing. I

00:43:35.280 --> 00:44:09.059
got into doing the pizza thing and on you know, again maybe it's not grilling or barbecue maybe it's just fire. Maybe that's what it is for me like that. It's like fire I don't know. Yeah, during the pandemic, I had a it was it was a house that I was living in at the time that had a like a built in not not built in but yeah, like a solid structure actual stone, outdoor wood pizza oven.

00:44:09.090 --> 00:44:10.110
Oh wow, that's neat. I

00:44:10.110 --> 00:44:17.519
want and I had lived in the house of I don't know call it three years.

00:44:13.440 --> 00:44:42.059
Never done it never never even thought about doing it. And then it's so funny thing what a global pandemic does it's like what can we do now at home? That takes time. So I started doing that and I got very into that I mean you talk about making homemade tortillas like yeah making the dough and oh you know well I've got to make this dough three days ahead and you know do all these

00:44:42.059 --> 00:44:48.360
really have to do for that my dough is pretty much a 72 hour dough so it's like it's not a tomorrow night thing.

00:44:48.809 --> 00:44:51.960
Yeah, but I really know I enjoy that a lot.

00:44:53.309 --> 00:45:04.320
Barbecue Sauce Do you have a preferred I'm not going to talk about bass but like if you had a like a style that You tend to prefer given your choices of all of them. So not

00:45:04.349 --> 00:45:08.010
not so much.

00:45:04.349 --> 00:47:14.039
I mean, I feel like so I'm from Georgia, which I do think is barbecue. And and specifically what you're talking about that BB barbecue sauce is a very big part of the culture. But I don't I don't view it at least myself and I don't want to make any of my old compadres feel bad. I don't feel like there's a defining thing with Georgia barbecue like, Carolina is very sort of specific. And Kansas City as well, Texas, who you know, so you have these Memphis, you have these regions where there is sort of a very specific style or flavor. And so I don't feel like that's true. In in Georgia, or at least, where I grew up and what I was doing, I feel like it was just like, you know, sauce. Okay, all right, right. Yeah. Sauce. Okay. So, I in terms of what I use, now, I would I I'm gonna, I'm going to answer your question by not answering your question at first because I think that something I talk about quite a bit in the book, which is different from from how I grew up, where it was just saw, you know, make it and then slather sauce on it is for me, really have a having the meat be the star. And so buying high quality, well sourced meats, the difference in flavor as well is just huge. I mean, it really is. And so I've been exploring much more recently with with using rubs less about the sauce than anything else. We made this one last night, which is it's not really Are you familiar with? We didn't make this sorry, we, we I did a rub and then we use this. It's called the brand. I think it's the brand. It's called Japanese barbecue. Oh,

00:47:14.429 --> 00:47:33.690
yeah. I mean, like there's, there is one that I feel like it's called Japanese bargain. That's like a white label on it. Yes. Like they have it a Costco now I think like a bottle. I've never used it as like a cooking class. Like my son loves to have it on the table. And it's just like, we'll put it on things. But I've never done it as like a saucing and cooking kind of technique.

00:47:33.809 --> 00:47:51.329
I did that last night. It's interesting, because it's not. Again, this doesn't really answer your question, but it's what I'm thinking about today. Because I'm like, it's not it's, it's way more in the like teria it's like the weirdest combination of teriyaki and barbecue sauce.

00:47:51.360 --> 00:47:56.460
It definitely has like a soy component if we're thinking about the same one.

00:47:52.949 --> 00:47:58.949
Yes, exactly. It's not thin, like a vinegar barbecue sauce.

00:47:56.460 --> 00:48:07.829
But it's definitely not thick, like a ketchup based barbecue sauce. It's somewhere in the middle, almost like they did like a cornstarch slurry, kind of like job on it, or there's probably some emulsifier in there.

00:48:07.889 --> 00:48:59.400
Yeah, you're right. I thought it was quite good, by the way. So that's, but usually I would say that I tend to, you know, especially if I'm just like buying a rub, I would say that I tend to move in the in the Kansas City, sort of that sort of flavor profile, which is a little sweet. And also some with some smoky stuff sort of built into it as well. That's probably the one that you know, if I'm if I'm looking for something new to use, I'll do that. But I I am definitely utilizing more the rub where I feel like, you know, when I was observing more as a kid, I feel like I don't I don't know. There was a lot of rubbin happening

00:48:59.730 --> 00:49:02.159
now. In my house like

00:49:02.159 --> 00:49:06.210
it was it was just sauce. It was a lot of sauce.

00:49:06.239 --> 00:49:08.849
Yeah, yeah, us too.

00:49:06.239 --> 00:49:08.849
I mean, I grew up in the 80s.

00:49:08.849 --> 00:49:34.110
And you know, if we did ribs at home from scratch, it was maybe salt and pepper and they went on the grill. We didn't have a smoker and you got the very thick KC masterpiece or whatever the brand was back then we probably bought the storebrand there's just you know, ketchup, high fructose corn syrup, and a little vinegar and some spice in there. Just put a shit ton on there and right that was ribs. I grew up in Massachusetts, so like nowhere with a history or culture of barbecue.

00:49:34.230 --> 00:49:34.829

00:49:35.579 --> 00:49:38.639
What about sides?

00:49:35.579 --> 00:49:43.079
Do you have favorite sides like if you had you know, going to a barbecue place and you got the meat and three what are the three?

00:49:44.639 --> 00:49:46.829
Oh like if I'm ordering something.

00:49:48.150 --> 00:49:49.889
Because I want you to take like an easy way out.

00:49:49.889 --> 00:49:58.170
You're going to a place like we're doing takeout barbecue tonight. We have a place in town that does Tuesday night specials and we get to pick three sides.

00:49:55.019 --> 00:50:01.980
So like if you were doing let's say going to a barbecue place and They had all the classics, the three

00:50:01.980 --> 00:50:19.889
that just jumped into my mind. If I was getting three would be? Well, okay, I'll give you, I'll give you I'll give you four, because it kind of depends on how they are. But the three I would say mac and cheese, coleslaw and baked beans.

00:50:20.579 --> 00:50:23.849
Those are good ones, those would probably be mine. Yeah. Now,

00:50:23.880 --> 00:50:38.039
if there is if I would probably be scared to order it unless I knew that it was good and what I wanted. You know, I live in California now.

00:50:33.150 --> 00:50:52.829
And I do appreciate and love this, that we don't cook the hell out of vegetables here. We actually taste what they taste like and so forth. However, if I'm in the south, and there was something that I knew was going to be good green beans. Yeah.

00:50:49.920 --> 00:50:52.829
Green beans.

00:50:53.489 --> 00:50:56.130
Green beans, right that you cook with bacon, onions. And they're like,

00:50:56.159 --> 00:50:59.130
oh, most gray. Yeah, destroy.

00:50:59.159 --> 00:51:01.619
That's a classic.

00:50:59.159 --> 00:51:30.179
That is. I mean, I don't traditionally eat green beans that way. But if I'm going for something like that, yeah. I mean, I like nice, crispy green bean. But if you're doing the southern like, yeah, we've just had him on a pot all day. And I've just flipped like Hambone or something. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I'm with you. Are you planning on doing any like cooking, promo type stuff? I know you've done like binging with Babish and Nick to Giovanni and today's show and all kinds of cooking things with a new book coming out. Are you planning on doing any? You know, social media cooking videos or anything like that?

00:51:30.210 --> 00:51:36.030
I think it's in the works right now in the next few weeks. Yeah, you may.

00:51:33.000 --> 00:51:54.719
You may see me on some of those guys again, you know, what's funny is when I had the experience before, I just I I enjoyed the hell out of all those guys and gals. I mean, I mean, you mentioned three right there also. Joe Joe Volpe, this.

00:51:47.340 --> 00:51:54.719
Yeah, I really, I really enjoy.

00:51:55.559 --> 00:52:18.239
enjoyed them a lot. And particularly binging with Babish he ended up writing the foreword for this cookbook based exclusively on his first foreword, by the way breaking news here on the show. Yeah, his his first four and just because of the my relationship I had with him through that. And

00:52:18.239 --> 00:52:41.909
I love you know, this time with social media and videos and stuff, you know, people like my son, they're more inclined to watch those guys on a YouTube video than someone me as a professional chef, gravitate towards. So if my son's you know, watching YouTube shorts or shorter cooking videos, I think it's really cool. And those are some of the people I mean, Nick was a guest on my podcast, and my son just thought that was the coolest.

00:52:40.079 --> 00:53:07.469
First of all, he's like, Oh, now you're like two degrees away from Mr. Beast, because like he does videos with Nick. So like, how cool is my dad? Little street cred? Yeah, I have one thing I really want to make sure that I asked and you might not even be able to answer or talk about, but we we have a new office coming because that was just really announced like last week or so do you have any info insights or just optimism about the new show that's gonna be hitting us soon?

00:53:08.429 --> 00:53:34.139
You know, there's not much that I can say about it. I think there's a lot of aspects that they're still figuring out but knowing that Greg Daniels is involved, and Michael Coleman, who's co creating it with him, who is great, very smart guy as well, as well as the husband of Ellie Kemper. It's going to be great.

00:53:30.208 --> 00:53:41.188
So I have all the confidence that that they're going to that they're going to nail it. I just, I just don't specifically know much more about it than than you do. Well, they

00:53:41.190 --> 00:53:53.159
say it's in the Dunder Mifflin world. So maybe in some universe somewhere, we'll see. I don't know. Maybe Scranton SATs out there playing somewhere. And you know, Kevin's Kevin's doing well. With that.

00:53:53.489 --> 00:53:54.958
Maybe, maybe.

00:53:56.099 --> 00:54:05.099
Thanks so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate you taking the time today. And I'm gonna push this out there. And hopefully people will pick up the new book when it comes out.

00:54:05.159 --> 00:54:06.840

00:54:05.159 --> 00:54:06.840
Thank you so much, Chris. I

00:54:06.838 --> 00:54:17.068
appreciate it. It's been an absolute pleasure. Enjoy the rest of your day. And hope to see you around some other time. Yeah, you too. You're still here. The podcast is over.

00:54:17.728 --> 00:54:20.579
If you are indeed still here.

00:54:17.728 --> 00:54:42.088
Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. I'd love to direct you to one place and that's chefs without From there, you'll be able to join our email newsletter. Get connected in our free Facebook group, and join our personal chef catering and food truck database so I can help get you more job leads. And you'll also find a link to our sponsor page where you'll find products and services I love.

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