“Are you interested in making chili for a chili cookoff?” I was asked.
As those words reverberated in my ears, panic sprang through my body. I couldn’t do that, could I? Did I even know how to make chili?
“How much would I need to make?” I asked with great trepidation.
“A large pot, about two gallons,” replied my champion.
Yikes! Unsure what to say, I paused. I’ve learned not to make decisions when fear is running through my veins. “Let me think about it,” I uttered “I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
Do you know this feeling?
I hung up, certain that I was going to say “no.” Then my grey-matter cells started to come to life and grumbled “How hard could it be?” Ruminating over that question, I remembered, what I’d temporarily forgotten—I love a challenge! I called back: “Yes, of course, I’ll do it.”
Determining the proportions of this quantity of chili was the easy part. I called my sister; her company Tourcats specializes in backstage and tour catering, so I knew she could help. “Does your chef have a chili recipe? I need proportions.”
“No problem,” she said and sent me the recipe.
After a quick glance, I knew the flavor wasn’t what I wanted, but now I had approximate quantities.
I made a small pot to define the flavor palate. Nothing too spicy, yet it had to have a slight kick. Each bite should be filled with the opulence of the spice-infused ingredients. The only chance I had of attaining that result was by tasting and adjusting the seasonings, over and over again making certain I was creating the flavor I wanted.
If I didn’t do that, I’d have to follow someone else’s recipe and hope for the best—I wasn’t willing to do that.
When I made the big batch, the 2-gallons, I’d identified the spices and the proportions I needed so the process was easy and the results were just what I wanted.
Thrilled, I packed everything up and went to the cook-off to serve samples of my chili for the next 3 hours. I was inspired by the comments I got:
“Wow, this is really good!”
“I really like the flavor of your chili.”
“I hear this is the best chili here.”
“Your chili is delicious!”
And then someone whispered discreetly, “Your chili is so much better than the others.”
And to think I almost didn’t participate!
Here is what I learned:
I already had all the knowledge I needed to make a really great chili. As with any good dish, it is about creating and balancing flavors and I knew how to do that. (I wrote a whole book about it with a specific section titled “About Flavors, Pages 40 – 41”).
Sometimes you just have to trust you’ll figure it out. And when you do, doesn’t it feel great?
EXCITING NEWS ! !
You’ve asked for it and it’s happening!
I’m creating a $10 ONLINE cooking mini-class.
I asked you to choose the class you would sign up for first:
A. Chili - from the cook-off.
B. Rustic Apple Pie - make your own pie crust for a salted caramel apple pie.
C. Lentil Soup - A hearty soup perfect for a one-pot dinner on cold winter nights
You voted and the results are:
#1 Rustic Apple pie
#3 Lentil soup
Don't worry if your choice isn't #1. There was such a positive response that I will teach all 3 !
#1 - Rustic Apple Pie, FIND OUT MORE
Date: Nov. 29th
Time: 10 am PT - 1 pm ET
Online class will be recorded if you can't attend the live class
#2 - Chili, FIND OUT MORE
#3 - Lentil Soup, FIND OUT MORE
Le Kitchen Cookbook
Everything you need to know to be a good cook.
by Adeline M. Olmer
I have a favor to ask!
Could you take a moment to write a review? Your comments really help others
make confident decisions. xox Merci