Chili creators represent New York state at international competition
By Steve Seepersaud
Brad Kaminsky, MBA '00, and Dan Polhamus '00 (at right) know their chili recipe is an award-winner in New York State, and they were eager to prove their creation was world-class. Last spring, two versions of their XL Chili recipe placed second and third at the state's chili competition held at Binghamton University. That qualified them to compete in November at the Chili Appreciation Society International cookoff, held in Terlingua, Texas.
Polhamus and Kaminsky named their chili after Microsoft's spreadsheet software, which helped to put together just the right mix of ingredients. They dug up world-champion chili recipes from the past 10 years, used Excel to compute average amounts of ingredients from those recipes and then added their own proprietary processes and ingredients to perfect their spicy stew.
Although XL Chili did not place in the international competition, Polhamus and Kaminsky had a great time and plan to return next fall for another world title shot.
"We definitely enjoyed the trip," said Polhamus. "We absolutely wanted to bring an award home to New York, but I guess we have more work to do. There were more than 350 entries, and we had the chance to meet chili cooks who have been doing this for decades."
When asked what the cookoff was like, Polhamus laughed. "We took the competition seriously, but it was definitely a party, too. Think NFL tailgate, NASCAR infield and a touch of Mardi Gras."
Think you have a top-notch chili? You can show your stuff at the 2011 New York state cookoff on May 7 at Binghamton University. See the Alumni Association Facebook page for more details in the spring. You can also find information at the chili competition's website.