TOP CHEF

Padma Lakshmi doesn't know shit about chili

After four years of hosting the Chili Takedown, founder Matt Timms definitely knows what it takes to be a prized amateur chef, but some recent and innovative contestants even surprised him. "I don't have any stipulations about how your chili should be," Timms says. "Someone made a candy chili last year which was bizarre, to say the least." Timms's Chili Takedowns have had such a huge response that he's extended the idea to cookie, salsa, and fondue competitions, though the Chili Takedown is the biggest. "Most of the chilis are super-varsity; some are a little JV. People have a pretty set idea of what they think chili is, and they always put their own spin on that. So no two chilis are ever alike, and I like it like that."
Sun., Feb. 8, 5 p.m., 2009
 
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