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Brian Baumgartner shares chili recipes and stories with students | Royal News: September 21 2022 – Scranton

More than 225 University of Scranton fans of “The Office” who attended the Sept.15 exclusive Q and A session on campus with actor and best-seling author Brian Baumgartner learned about how he assembled recipes for his latest book, “Seriously Good Chili Cookbook.” They also walked away with more than a few insights about the actor, and his fictional counterpart on The Office, Kevin Malone, including his:
1. favorite guest star on “The Office”: Kathy Bates, 
2. most memorable talking-head scene: “You can’t eat cats. You can’t eat cats, Kevin,”
3. scene takes needed to capture his character’s meme-making chili-spill scene: Only one!

These trivia tidbits were discovered when event moderator and University Director of the Center for Student Engagement Michael Ritterbeck peppered Baumgartner with rapid-fire questions that were crowdsourced from students in advance of the event. They were unable to convince him to share the identity of the Emmy-award winning sitcom’s Scranton Strangler: “No one knows and no one cares,” joked Baumgartner about the C-plot that surfaced several times in the course of the series’ nine seasons on NBC.

The visit was part of a tour in support of his first cookbook, which published on Sept. 13. Baumgartner was on campus in November 2021 for a student Q and A and book signing for “Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office,” which became a New York Times best-seller.


“Smoked chicken with white beans was my favorite,” said Baumgartner, of chili entries he sampled in 2021 as judge of a World Championship Chili Cook Off event hosted in Myrtle Beach. It was there he began assembling the recipes for his latest book.

In real life, he has become “a true chili master and aficionado,” who is “just as serious as his fictional counterpart about making the most perfect pot of chili.” His first cookbook features 177 chili recipes hand-picked by Baumgartner. Written in a humorous and friendly tone, the book showcases specific styles of chili, including Texas chili, Cincinnati chili, vegetarian chili, black bean chili and home-style chili, as well as other regional and international variations, and a bonus recipe of the official “Kevin’s Famous Chili” recipe from The Office. 

Baumgartner reflected on the ubiquitous scene where his character fumbles while delivering a stockpot of chili painstakingly prepared for his co-workers, and said he never expected it to be his most famous show moment.
He joked: “Is it a piece given to the world by a genius of physical comedy?…Yes,” Baumgartner said.
Over the course of the show’s nine-season run, and still today, he receives requests fan feedback.

“Here’s why I think it resonates…To me, it kind of captures the real essence of what The Office was, which is a celebration of ordinary people doing ordinary things, finding the beauty in that.”
What he carries with him is this:
“The greatest gift is the interactions with people who tell me The Office has brough them comfort at certain times.”

He referenced a recent interview with Grammy winner Billie Eilish on his podcast, Off The Beat with Brian Baumgartner who as a superfan said she keeps the show on in the background and envisions all the scenes.

For more about “Seriously Good Chili Cookbook,”published by Fox Chapel, visit here: https://www.seriouslygoodchilicookbook.com/

Q and A moderator and University Director of the Center for Student Engagement Michael Ritterbeck, shown above, shares a photo from a 2017 event he attended as a University of Scranton student. At “The Office Convention,” Ritterbeck met the cast and was featured with them on the front page of The Times-Tribune.







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