Sunday marked the annual return of the Brooklyn Chili Takedown, which went on this year at the Bell House in Gowanus. Matt Timms, originator of the Takedowns series of food cook-offs that now includes bacon, cookies, mac & cheese, ice cream, and more, has seen his idea spread to other U.S. cities but the Brooklyn Chili Takedown is the original. This year it featured thirty chefs who stirred savory crocks that drew inspiration from everything from Star Trek to wasabi peas, from hot dogs to peanut butter, and even the Smoke Monster from Lost.
Gorgeous prize packages included cookware from Anolon, Le Creuset, Microplane, Wüsthof, and more. The personalities were every bit as fiery, spicy, and vibrant as the chili being scooped, but the chowhounds downed numbered ramekin after ramekin and tackled the field with impressive enthusiasm.
Ballots were drawn and votes were cast, and in the end, there were two clear winners. The Judges awarded top honors to Ethan Eubanks’ E&E Red Hook Red, which blended nine different chiles with a trio of eye-of-round roast, skirt steak, and short ribs.
“It’s a classic Texas-style with a little Brooklyn hipster flair,” explained Eubanks. The other top prize was determined via public vote, and this year’s People’s Choice prize was awarded to Reza Vahid’s Ten Chile Chili, also a classic Texas style, garnished with pickled jalapeños, lime crema, and Fritos a technique picked up from his fiancé.
Photos by Bradley Hawks for the Village Voice.