Comedian Matthew Timms has the market cornered on populist NYC food competitions, from his Chili Takedown series, to cookie and fondue variations. He’s also an award-winning cinematographer, whose indie drama Up With Me took home a Special Jury Award at last year’s SXSW Film Festival. After the jump Flavorwire asks the Renaissance blogger about the roots of his competitions, his thoughts on the local food scene, and the effect he’s had on lingerie sales in Brooklyn.
Flavorwire: What’s the origin of your Takedowns?
Matthew Timms: I love chili, bad. I made it for friends all the time, and thought why not a massive party, and have other people bring chili or fondue or cookies or whatever, while I’m on the microphone the whole time? I thought I’d throw a small one a few years ago, but it turned out to be huge. They’ve been getting bigger and bigger since.
FW: What’s your day job?
MT: Like a jobby job? Not so much. I’m trying to Takedown instead. Plus I’m a famous actor now. Perhaps you’ve seen my Optimum Online commercial? It’s really quite brilliant.
FW: Are you a good cook?
MT: I’m a brilliant cook, everybody says so. I love making big pots of stuff to last the week: soups and stews and chili. But I can’t enter my own contests — what if I got beat? I’m just not brave enough, I guess.
FW: What are the most memorable Takedown creations?
MT: There have been a few wicked awesome disasters. A weirdo girl came to the last Chili Takedown with chili made entirely out of candy. And my babysitter from when I was little showed up at the Cookie Takedown with a tray of blue cheese and bacon cookies. That was a bummer.
FW: Do you have a favorite food blogger?
FW: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?
MT: I am positive last year sucked a little bit because of the bull penis I ate at Kenka on my last birthday. It sounds delicious, but it isn’t. They cut it into pieces like sushi, and you could see that big pee tube that runs all the way up it. And they steam it, like White Castle. Brr.
FW: Who really gets food wrong?
MT: Other than the International Chili Society, I don’t have any enemies. I can only think of three people that I genuinely dislike, and its not because of food, that’s for sure. But I embrace the idea of people getting food wrong. It means that person went off-recipe and tried to wing it. That’s pretty much the next step for amateur cooks, to put down the cookbook and throw ingredients all over the place. I want cooks at my events to take big gambles and risk spectacular failures. But ultimately people who make consistently bad food are my enemies, sure.
FW: How have sales been for your signature lingerie at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Fox, the Chili Takedown Dirty Little Number? Have you discovered a chili/corset overlap on the venn diagram of hotness?
MT: From what I hear, sales are booming over at Brooklyn Fox, thanks to the Chili Takedown. A lot of sexy, sophisticated women are obviously reading my blog. It’s clearly been a great business decision for Lexi, the owner. Actually, Lexi hasn’t said anything about a sales boom. I don’t get it. But that lingerie I highlighted is definitely my favorite ever. So hot. Brown and hot pink together? Who knew? I’ve never had a girlfriend wear lingerie for me, which sucks. Well, one time.
FW: What are your plans for future Takedowns?
MT: My Chili Takedown in February will be my biggest yet. Also, the first ever Bacon Takedown is in late March. About the Bacon Takedown, I really can’t say more because it’s kind of a mind-blower.
Timms’ next Chili Takedown takes place at Union Pool, Williamsburg, on Sunday, February 8th; event details here.