2016 Hashbrown Chef Spotlight: Eric Berry of Spudnik Press

*drum roll*

Today we are excited to present our final 2016 Hashbrown Chef Spotlight! Spudnik Press Cooperative will be sharing our house chili with guests. While we won’t be in the formal competition, we will still knock your socks off with our amazing chili prepared by Guest Chef (and Spudnik volunteer), Eric Berry. He took a moment to answer a few questions leading up to this year’s Hashbrown Chili Cook-off.

Organization: Spudnik Press Cooperative
Guest Chef: Eric Berry, Volunteer

Spudnik Press Cooperative (SPC): How did you wind up making chili for Spudnik Press?

Eric: While not directly involved with Spudnik Press, I’ve been to a handful of events, and my wife Shlee has been working at and with Spudnik Press recently since she was accepted as part of the fellowship program. I volunteered to be the Chili Chef as Shlee’s husband- I loved experiencing the event last year and want to help out.

SPC: Why Spudnik Press? What keeps you contributing to our mission?

Eric: More people need to know about (and support) Spudnik Press because being involved, taking courses, or having a membership with Spudnik makes learning new things (art forms, tools, printmaking techniques) exciting, and the people and networks involved with Spudnik Press have all been exceptionally friendly and fun to work with.

SPC: What would you say is Spudnik’s spirit animal?

Eric: I think that Spudnik Press is well-represented by the Fisher. Although a small-to-medium sized animal, the Fisher is versatile, quick, and can defeat even the most formidable of foes in the animal kingdom, such as the Porcupine. While often underestimated by predators, the Fisher has been known to cook a mean pot of chili and is not to be taken lightly!

SPC: Can we leak any details about what our guests can expect to find in your crockpot on March 19?

Eric: What I’m bringing is a culmination of family recipe tricks, my favorite type of chili, and the product of much trial and error over years of attempts to make the perfect pot of chili.

SPC: Final question: What is a tagline that could represent BOTH Spudnik and your chili?

Eric: You’ll never know how much you were missing until you try it…

Eric’s Favorites:

Favorite Chef: Masaharu Morimoto.
Favorite Restaurant: Buona Terra in Logan Square- I can never get enough!
Best Cooking Show: Chopped
Favorite Bean: Great Northern Beans
Favorite recipe: Hand-made soft pretzels

You will need:
5 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 packet of dry active yeast
1/2 cup baking soda Coarse salt (optional)
Nacho cheese (mandatory)
1) Start by beginning to boil 2 quarts of water
1) Mix yeast packet in with 2 tablespoons of water to activate it (as per instructions)
2) Add in brown sugar, water, and flour in mixing bowl with dough hook
3) Once combined, take out of bowl and knead with hands to form one large dough ball, and roll gently to oblong shape
4) Slice roll into 2 inch sections and roll in hands until roughly 1/2 inch thin
5) Shape pretzels and lay on lightly flowered surface and/or parchment or wax paper to keep from sticking. 6) Add baking soda to boiling water and stir thoroughly
7) Put pretzels in the boil for 30 seconds each. Remove them with tongs, skimmer or shallow ladle.
8) Add salt while the pretzels are still moist if desired
9) Bake at 475 for 8 minutes on greased cookie sheet 10) Remove from oven and enjoy (After removing from oven, brush with any optional toppings you wish such as butter, cinnamon and sugar)