Cathy Erway – Chili Celebrity Gone Wild!

Cathy relaxes after stiff competition at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Chile Fiesta Takedown 08!

Cathy relaxes after stiff competition at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Chile Fiesta Takedown '08!

So guess what? The new “blog” look for the Takedown is such a hit, people are bashing down my door to be a part of it! When I begged celebrity foodie Cathy Erway for an interview, she didn’t not not say no! This woman runs one of your more popular food columns on the internet, at Not Eating Out in NYC.  Cathy is a huge fan!!! She’s also participated and judged a few Takedowns herself. Here she is- unfettered, uncut Cathy Freakin Erway:

As a sophisticated food sophisticate, can you tell us: what is the importance of chili?

Chili is a food of the home, and that makes it a perfect cook-off dish. It lends itself to countless variations, it’s adored by meat fanatics and vegans alike, and it’s something that otherwise normal folks can get crazy religious and territorial about. Genteel restaurants – especially in New York – don’t typically do chili. I think chefs are afraid it will look like dog food. Or, they’re rightly afraid people will think theirs or their mom’s is better. It’s also incredibly American, you know, cowboy food. When I was living in Taiwan I once gave an “American food” demo and served up chili. I don’t think anyone was too impressed.

Hey Cathy! How much do you love the Takedown?

A lot? There are many imitators, but the Takedown is the truest and most frequent home of unbridled amateur cooking guts and glory. I have seen the strangest stuff happen at Takedowns. I’ve tasted the best and worst chilis I’ve ever had in my life. Who can forget that time when someone’s sick joke was to open a bunch of cans of Hormel chili and dump vodka in it? Takedowns are where I get a lot of my “normal people’s food-watching” done. Some people like to “people-watch”; I like to see what people put in their pots.

Yeah that was this guy Pascal with the Hormel Vodka Incident. That dude is in a lot of trouble with the Takedown. We’re still investigating those allegations. Hey Cathy! You’ve competed in a ton of these Takedowns!!! What’s your favorite chili recipe?

The last one I made, “If I Had a Pepper.” (link: http://noteatingoutinny.com/2008/10/12/if-i-had-a-pepper-pork-chili/ ) I wouldn’t have done the pulled pork-style meat if I didn’t have eight pounds of shoulder from a pig butchering class at the Brooklyn Kitchen to use up. It was Berkshire pork, and it made all the difference.

Jesus Christ! You know how to butcher a pig? *HEY READERS- CATHY ERWAY CAN BUTCHER A WHOLE PIG.* So anyways, Cathy, you’ve judged a few Takedowns as well-  do you have advice for anyone foolish enough to compete?

Everyone I meet at these Takedowns are just so awesome and all there just to have a good time, I hardly feel like they need any advice at all. But I did add my two cents on just this topic for Brooklyn Based: http://brooklynbased.net/everything/how-to-win-a-brooklyn-cook-off/

Whoah, Cathy, Brooklyn Based is another wicked important online publication! Readers, if you’re still reading this than you know by now that the Takedown must therefore also be wicked important to be getting all this amazing press. Hey anyways Cathy! So, can vegetable chili even be allowed even to exist, even?

The question is, why haven’t more vegetarian chilis won? A long while back, my friends Shana and David fooled a bunch of people into thinking their tempeh was ground meat and won the judges’ top honors. I’m not going to give away their secret, but it involved the word “liquid” and the word “smoke.”

Wow! Oh man Cathy I owe you big you rule so badddd!!! Check out the love she’s given the Takedown at past events – recaps and losing recipes:

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2008/08/12/777/

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2008/11/26/oh-you-cheesy-things/

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2007/09/17/bloody-mary-salsa/

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2007/12/18/the-2007-chili-takedown-that-i-did-not/

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2007/12/18/chicken-pumpkin-hominy-chili/

http://noteatingoutinny.com/2007/06/04/chili-champs/

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