The Office's Brian Baumgartner's Strangest Chili Experience - Exclusive

Being known for a particular scene in a show can be a blessing and a curse—just ask Brian Baumgartner. As the dopey accountant Kevin Malone in the hit show "The Office," Baumgartner had many wonderful, hilarious moments, but few have stuck in the cultural mindset like the famous chili scene. In the Season 5 episode, "Casual Friday," Kevin is featured in the cold open carrying a large pot of his famous chili, which he spills all over the floor before anyone gets a chance to try it. 

The scene sparked an interest in chili for Baumgartner who now, years later and after years of embracing the culture, has published a chili cook book, "Seriously Good Chili Cookbook: 177 of the Best Recipes in the World." With such specific notoriety comes some interesting fan interactions. Beyond simply signing photos of chili or purchasing the cookbooks, some fans have gone out of their way to show their allegiance to Kevin's Chili. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Baumgartner revealed the strangest and best interaction he's had with a fan. 

The encounter

It all started at a hotel restaurant in Pittsburgh. "I was working; I was sitting at the hotel bar by myself, having dinner," says Baumgartner. "I'd finished dinner — I remember I had just finished because of what happened next. I was on my phone or something, and I wasn't really paying attention, but the food had been cleared away. Shortly after that, a bartender came and set food down in front of me. I instinctively looked up and said, 'Oh, no, I've already eaten.' He leaned down and said in this ... '50s noir movie way... 'This is from the woman at the end of the bar.' I looked down, and it was a bowl of chili, and I looked over at her."  

The event was surprising to Baumgartner: "Nobody had done that before, so it made me laugh." With the gestures originality it became one of Baumgartner's favorite experiences. "She got a conversation out of me, I'll put it that way," he says.

"Seriously Good Chili Cookbook: 177 of the Best Recipes in the World" is available for purchase now.