When the temperature swings in Los Angeles have you debating if you’re craving soup or summer barbecue, the answer is probably chili.
“Chili is a year-round food that warms your heart and comforts your soul,” said Damien Pierre, owner of Dami’s Famous Foods. “With all the transplants from all over the United States, LA is a chili town.”
As a self-taught cook who prefers to be called a “food connoisseur,” Damien offers his take on the classic comfort food every weekend at the Marina del Rey Farmers Market (Saturdays) and the West LA Farmers Market (Sundays). When you visit the booth for Dami’s Famous Foods, he’ll greet you with a smile and ladle in hand, happy to serve a sampling of his chili and cornbread.
His three chili varieties include vegetarian, turkey, and spicy bison; all with a bean-to-meat ratio that heavily favors the protein. The texture is chunky enough to feel satisfying, but smooth enough to work as a topping on burgers, hot dogs, or omelets. Every variety has a spicy heat that won’t set your mouth on fire, but makes each bite more addictive.
“My style of cuisine came from my background. I’m Caribbean-American. Caribbean cuisine has a lot of spices, herbs, and flavor,” Damien said. “We like things spicy.”
To pair with your choice of chili, Dami’s Famous Foods offers three kinds of cornbread: buttermilk, bacon jalapeno, and sweet corn. All are comfortingly moist and buttery with the kind of crumbly firmness that lets you wipe up the last licks of chili from your bowl.
Part of the secret to the chili’s tomato base is Damien’s own brand of barbecue sauce, made with natural ingredients. He also sells this separately at the markets in bottles labeled as Dami’s Famous BBQ Sauce.
“The inspiration for my barbecue sauce was my grandmother, Cyrilla Pierre. She believed in all of my food creations and taught me a lot about cooking and food as a whole,” he said. “She was the first person who tried my barbecue sauce the first time I ever made it from scratch. She loved it!”
Damien describes his sauce as Kansas City meets Memphis style barbecue, resulting in a flavor profile that’s thick and sweet, but also tangy. He considers his BBQ sauce to be a more versatile condiment than people realize, with some fans raving that it even goes great with sardines.
“Don’t limit your food exploration with barbecue sauce to just grilling. There’s so much out there that you can do with a great barbecue sauce.”
If you can’t make it to the Westside farmers markets, Dami’s Famous Foods also has chili and cornbread on the catering menu. As for other new offerings from his recipe box that may be in the making, Damien says,”…Stay tuned, you never know what I will do next.”
He learned the basics of cooking from his relatives while growing up in Brooklyn, New York and Port Charlotte, Florida. Stewed peas and dumplings, and baked macaroni and cheese with salted codfish were among his favorites as a child.
Drawing from his love of making food, Damien recently released an e-book of his own health conscious recipes titled Eat Good, Feel Good, available to download for $1.99 on his website.
“I want to be known for always making great tasting food and consistent products that are ahead of the curve,” he said.