Brian Baumgartner Comes to Campus
By Kelly Nee – Editor In Chief
In an interview with Brian Baumgartner, the first thing he said was how he absolutely loves to back in the city of Scranton.
Baumgartner appeared on campus on Sept. 15 to celebrate the launch of his book, “Seriously Good Chili Cookbook – 177 of the Best Recipes in the World”. He’s famous for playing Kevin Malone on the mockumentary sitcom “The Office”, which was based right here in Scranton.
Baumgartner had never made chili in his life before the famous scene where Kevin Malone drops a huge vat of chili right on the office carpet. But while having people over on a cold fall day, he made his first ever pot of chili and decided to post a picture of himself cooking chili on social media.
“People just went bonkers,” Baumgartner said.
Many of the recipes in his new cookbook come from world champion chili makers, gathered together at the World Championship Chili Cookoff in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which has been going on for over 50 years. Baumgartner will be in attendance at the cookoff next week.
“It’s this really communal experience of people sharing and enjoying chili together,” Baumgartner said.
His editors originally asked for 100 recipes, which Baumgartner thought was going to be hard to do. But after partnering with the World Championship Chili Cookoff and getting such a variety of recipes that even included vegetarian and vegan options, they finally had to cut off submissions at 177.
The cookbook contains Baumgartner’s personal chili recipe, and even Kevin Malone’s recreated recipe. When asked how Kevin Malone would feel about a cookbook of 177 chili recipes, Baumgartner laughed.
“I think he would love it,” Baumgartner said.
This new book has gotten a huge response from Baumgartner’s fans and co-stars, who he said have been nothing but supportive. Since he announced the book a few months ago, he’s gotten around 5 million interactions on Instagram about chili.
Baumgartner said he has made such incredible memories in this city over the years and appreciates all the support he has received from the great people of Scranton.