Stirring Things Up Cindy Wilkins


Once a month, C Magazine interviews a prominent Columbus figure to discuss what makes them tick. We caught up with professional chili chef and fiery food expert Cindy Wilkins when she came to town for the inaugural 2012 ICS Buckeye Regional and Ohio State Chili Championships.
 
Who is the most overrated chef right now? 
Every person has a little chef in them, even if they can’t boil water.

As far as championship chili goes, what three characteristics do they have? 
Championship chili consists of meat and gravy, and it should have consistency, red color and taste good.

Is chili really a kind of soup? 
More like a stew.

You are given $1,000 to spend on an evening dinner for four. Where areyou going, and what are you eating? 
I’m going to Mesa Grill in New York for dinner cooked and served by the chef himself, Bobby Flay. Start with a signature cocktail, Shrimp & Roasted Corn Tamale, Sophie’s Chopped Salad, Grilled Porterhouse Lamb Chop, and a dessert medley.

What two things should never be put on a hot dog? 
Hot dog aficionados never put ketchup on a hot dog.

What is something that was told to you, good or bad, that you can’t or won’t forget? 
It is better to fail than to have never tried.

Where does Ohio rank on the Top 10 Chili States in the country? 
I would rank Ohio number two, as chili is the official state dish of Texas. Ohio has more chili parlors than any other state, though. 

What is your secret to making any edible creation work? 
Imagination.

When you are in Columbus, where do you visit first and always? 
I have only been there once – so a visit to Cajohn’s Fiery Foods home office/ storefront/warehouse is a must for me.

The years you won the International Chili Championship, how many women were competing, and how did the men receive your entry and success? 
I have won the International Chili Championship In Terlingua back- to-back, and would venture to say that the entry and success was warmly received by both men and women!

What did you win?
I did not win any money, but I have two gorgeous bronze chili peppers and big bragging rights!

If chili were married to something forever, what would it be? 
Cumin.

Should Doritos be considered as a scheduled drug, especially when offered with chili or nachos? 
Whatever floats your boat; we are always dedicated to mixing up variations of anything with chili.