Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Legacy of Soul

There are people who try to make the world a better place through good works or kindness or the creation of fine art. Chef Randy Hoffman did all three of these things through the medium of chili. Randy was the Owner of Chili My Soul, located in Encino California. He created over forty different chilis which were featured at Chili My Soul on a rotating basis. Randy often sat at the back of the restaurant chatting with the customers, expounding the merits of this chili or that. He was a craftsman who cared greatly about his work. Soul was one ingredient you could find in any one of Randy's chilis. Randy once told me that he was offered a lucrative contract to start a franchised restaurant, but he turned it down when he found out he would not be able to hire his own people or exercise control over the quality of his chilis.
As a gem in a mountain of rocks, Chili My Soul was one of the real inspirations for this blog.

Sadly, Randy Hoffman unexpectedly passed away on June 18th and the restaurant is currently closed.

We reviewed Chili My Soul in 2007 (Post).


Jasmine said...

Randy was definitely the "soul" of Chili My Soul. He remembered my husband and I every time and treated us like friends. I would stop by Chili My Soul any time I had a reason to be on that side of town, and hope that his legacy will be carried on... the sooner the better... I'm starving! We will sincerely miss him.

Family of Food said...

Jasmine, thanks for the comment. This has been by far the most viewed post I have had in a while leading me to believe that we are not the only ones who miss Randy.

Jeni said...

Chili My Soul is definitely a gem. My family is visiting at the moment, and we attempted to visit today, only to hear the sad news. We met Randy a number of times, chatted about opening more restaurants, and what not.

Definitely a great loss. Best wishes to his family and friends.

Kim H said...

I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Randy. He was such a good person to talk to about spicy food and chili, one of my favorite foods.

When I found out there was a restaurant that had a wide variety of chili, I was thrilled! And conveniently located down the street from my dentist! I introduced a plethora of friends to the restaurant, and enjoyed doing so. It was such a treat.

I do hope that someone in the family will carry on the restaurant. It is such a jewel, and I miss the amazing corn bread! I could so go for a bowl of Gunslinger with Jack, green onions and chocolate chips right now! Please don't make me go back to Hormel! I won't do it!

Anonymous said...

I just cmae back from eating next door to Chili my Soul, and saw the horrible news.

I ate chili there about every other month and must have introduced the place to 50 people over the 20+ years I have been going there. I had been there 3 times in the month prior to his passing.

I had many fun conversations with Randy and will miss him as much as I will miss his chili's. I hope that there is some way that the chili can live on as a legacy to Randy and all of the chili lovers who have been hanging out there for years

John K said...

R.I.P. Randy...

We used to drop in whenever we were on that side of the hill (we're from West L.A.) and Randy and I talked about his desire to start a branch over here. I had promised to keep on the lookout for good spots and saw one the other day and made a mental note of it. Now, it's too late.

To hack up Shakespeare a bit:
The good Randy did lives after him. I just hope the recipes and restaurant will not be interred with his bones.

Anonymous said...

Very sad to hear this today. Ive known Randy for 25 years, first as one of his first employees helping to open his first location in Sherman Oaks at Van Nuys and Ventura. He was a great guy who loved what he did. He also used to work in the record business for a long time before opening the restaurant and had great stories about that world. I saw him a few months ago when I stopped in for lunch.

Anonymous said...

Please reopen the restaurant or allow someone to buy it. We really need Chili My Soul back, it's like home to many of us!

Bill said...

I went by the restaurant yesterday, read the closing notice on the door, and said, "Oh no!" A bystander said, "everyone has the same reaction!" As I was standing there in semi-shock, another car pulled up; another disappointed would-be customer got the news. The place never lacked for customers.

Hope someone takes over Randy's recipes and re-opens the store - somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I knew something was up when the site said "closed". I'm so sad. Not only was his chili the best and so inspired, but seeing him there was always a treat with his warm personality. I even went to a restaurant supply auction with him once. We all pray for the family and do hope that someone can carry on. I don't know how I can go on without his spicy chili.

Anonymous said...

I just read some of these comments, and am not surprised but at the same time touched. I had the pleasure of working for Randy for almost a decade. I need not say what a truly amazing person he is! Chili My Soul was and always will be a part of me. Randy always said, "you have the soul" to me. I do. I wish that the legacy could go on, only time will tell. If could always have fun at home trying to make your own chili and the famous cornbread. Don't forget those Guittard chocolate chips!
A true best friend, like a father to me, Randy is and always will be missed... WE ALL LOVE YOU RANDY!

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