Vegetarian Solution : A French Chef’s Chili


Switching from French haute cuisine to all-American cooking was a culture shock for Hollywood Canteen chef Lionel Denaud of Brittany. Trained at two- and three-star restaurants in France--including Michel Guerard in Eugenie-les-Bains and Chilbeta in Paris--Denaud was used to making foie gras terrines and crayfish feuillete. At the Hollywood Canteen, Denaud makes chili.

In fact, his vegetarian chili is a huge hit with the H. C.’s show-biz customers. (Chicken chili and other variations are also served.)

Denaud simply applied his classical French training to American cooking ideas.


“With some help from my American sous - chef , I researched the foundations of the recipe and went from there,” Denaud says.

He was surprised with what he found himself using in the chili, though. There are, in addition to the beans-and-basic-tomato stock, some of the unusual ingredients that characterize many good American chilis: chocolate, coffee . . . and Budweiser. At the Hollywood Canteen, the big bowl of chili comes with condiments of sour cream, Cheddar cheese, chopped onions and corn bread on the side. This recipe will make enough to feed a large party crowd.


1 3/4 pounds pinto beans

3/4 pound kidney beans

Vegetable stock, chicken stock or water

1 (12-ounce) can beer

2 onions, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

2 sweet red peppers, seeded and diced

2 sweet yellow peppers, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup chopped serrano chiles

2 1/2 cups tomato paste

3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup chili powder

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons paprika

Juice of 1 orange

1 cup brewed coffee

1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon crushed dried chiles

Salt, pepper

Soak pinto and kidney beans in water to cover 4 hours. Drain and rinse. Add 2 1/2 to 3 quarts vegetable stock and beer to drained beans and cook 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Add as much vegetable stock as needed to keep beans covered by 1 inch during cooking.

Saute onions in olive oil until transparent. Add sweet peppers and chiles to taste. Cook 10 minutes over high heat, stirring often. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chili powder, cayenne to taste, paprika, orange juice, coffee, cocoa and crushed chiles and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato mixture to beans and cook 20 minutes longer over low heat, adding 2 to 3 cups more vegetable stock to thin, as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 16 to 24 servings.

Note: Recipe may be reduced by half for 8 to 12 servings



1 onion

2 stalks celery

1 carrot, peeled

2 pounds ground chicken

1/4 cup ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 recipe Hollywood Canteen Vegetarian Chili


Grate or mince onion, celery and carrot. Saute with chicken and cumin in olive oil until chicken is cooked and crumbly. Add to Hollywood Canteen Vegetarian Chili. Season to taste with salt. Makes 16 to 24 servings.