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Friday
May222009

And the winner is...?

 

Are you curious to learn more about the winners of NYC's annual Lonestar Chili Cook-off? Look no further; The Lunch Belle has all of the juicy details! Below, please find my interview with Kimberly Hayes, of the five-time-award-winning chili team, “The Monkey Punch.”

 

Including yourself, how many people were on your team?

  • We were a team of 4.

Are all team mates from Texas? If not, where?

  • I'm from Austin, Texas; my husband, Gerard Hayes is from Galway, Ireland; Nicole Pelengaris is from Liberty, MI, and Abhay Patel is from Forest, MI (Nicole and Abhay went to LSU together).

You call yourselves "The Monkey Punch." What is the story behind the name? Have you used that name for the past five wins?

  • We change our team name every year. My husband and I were at dinner last week and just came up with the name (I wish there was a funny story but there isn't). Some of our past team names have been: The Magic Animal, Chili-licous and The Extinguishers (I can't remember the 4th - it was way out there!).

Who created the chili recipe?

  • In 2003, I asked a friend to enter this competition with me. I did some research on chili and came up with bits and pieces from different recipes I've used and come across. Truth is, we change it up a little each time. One year we didn't have beans in our chili, but all other years we have had beans. We've been criticized for having beans, as some don't believe true TX chili has beans in it. I believe true TX chili is one in which you throw together what you have in the kitchen; whatever tastes good with the essentials.

Did you taste all/most of your competition's chili? Which was your favorite (besides your own, of course)?

  • I did not get a chance to taste any of the competition this year.

Why do you think you all won again?

  • I think our chili is amazing and we keep our meat very tender and don't overdo the spice factor. Some people tend to over spice their chili with heat thinking that the spicier the better. We like to layer the flavors so you can taste the spice, the sweet, and the kick all in one bite!

Will you enter the Cook-off next year?

  • Yes, as long as we are in town. Last year was the only year we haven't participated since 2003 (my husband was at a bachelor party in Canada and I was in Dallas for the bachelorette weekend).

Ever thought about competing in a national cook-off?

  • I've thought about it and think it would be a lot of fun!

OK, I have to ask: UT or A&M?

  • UT, of course!

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