Amazing chili served up by a drag queen?! Hell yeah! But how does such a miracle come to pass? Here’s a little history… The tradition of the Texas Chili Queens dates back to colonial San Antonio, when enterprising women served the dish to soldiers and citizens in the city’s plazas. The creative combination of stewed meats and spices was a hit, and a culinary icon was born. Chili has been the official state food of Texas since 1977. Eclat has roots in Dallas, where she studied performing and visual arts. She began doing drag for fun as a teenager, and was even voted Prom Princess her junior year (in drag, of course)! Eclat’s interest in cooking came from a work-study assignment during her time at Columbia University in New York City. She was a personal assistant to Shirley King, author of the acclaimed cookbook, “Fish: The Basics.” She credits King with helping her develop a passion for food. After graduation, Eclat spent a few years as a Spanish teacher in New York, then continued her teaching career in Austin. That’s when she began hosting dinner parties for friends, and their enthusiastic response to her Frito pies gave her the idea to open a unique food truck of her own. Just one look at those Frito pies and you can see why the idea stuck…
“Austin is too healthy!” she told Austin.com recently. “We need to bring back good Texas street food!” To that end, Eclat has created five signature chilis (seen below), each named after an iconic Texas city. There’s even a vegan option named after Austin, of course.
These savory delights can be served plain, over fries or corn chips, and with a variety of toppings and sides. Oh, and those sides? They’re crazy good.
On it’s face, Eclat’s idea of a drag-queen-based chili eatery does sound pretty far out, especially in the conservative state of Texas, but she has so far proven the critics wrong. “A lot of times when people book the food truck, they don’t expect a drag queen to show up,” she admitted. But so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. After all, pretty much every Texan knows good chili can make even the most hardened hater smile. So far, Austinites have almost universally embraced the concept with enthusiasm. Eventually, Eclat hopes to expand to a brick and mortar location. For now, she sashays between office parks on weekdays and occasionally turns out for festivals. She regularly posts her whereabouts on social media, so finding her truck is usually pretty easy. Naturally, no matter where she is, count on her to be in full face, wig, and heels, reliably serving an absolutely fabulous bowl of yum!
Follow the Texas Chili Queens on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then go check out the full menu here. Guaranteed to make you hungry!