In one of my previous lives, I worked as a cook at a dive bar where the kitchen was equally likely to reek of exhaust fumes from a Harley Davidson, or the burning remnants of old appetizers in a dirty deep fryer that was long overdue for new grease. The same freedom that allowed me to keep a six-pack of cold ones handy on the clock was applied to my cooking practices. There were virtually no limits. Our high-class kitchen crew could order off-the-wall ingredients and concoct whatever we wanted, even if we would be the only ones eating it. It was here where I experimented with chili for years, gradually perfecting what I can now call my best chili recipe.