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Chris Seelbach cooks up a new venture for life post-City Hall

Chris Seelbach kitchen.jpg
Ann Thompson
Former Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach in his kitchen canning "Big Barb's Bourbon Chili."

Former Cincinnati City council member Chris Seelbach is rediscovering himself away from City Hall, spending much of the time in his kitchen.

Husband Craig Schultz says Seelbach has come a long way. He was making dishes like noodle casserole when they met 17 years ago. But Schultz doesn’t cook, so he’s glad Seelbach makes all the food — and Schultz just adds meat to any vegan dishes Seelbach creates.

More recently, Seelbach has started canning some of his favorite dishes. First it was pickles that he gave away on Facebook, and then, chili.

“I made like 10 jars of pickles, and I put on Facebook, ‘I’ve got five jars. I’m just going to give them away’ and within 10 minutes they were all gone. One went to Florida, another to Arizona," he says.

Award-winning “Big Barb’s Bourbon Chili” is what Seelbach canned next.

He describes the chili as “creamy, savory and sweet.”

“You can sense the bourbon," he says. "And it's sweet because of the maple syrup. I also put in chickpeas, so it has a creamy feel to it. So it's three different types of chili beans, black beans, and then one can of chickpeas.”

The couple's three cats were certainly interested in what was going on in the kitchen, constantly climbing up from another room to catch a peek.

You can tell the former councilman enjoys the kitchen. According to husband Craig, “He’s having fun, which is what he needs to do after 10 years of not having fun.” They both laugh.

(Seelbach served on council since 2011, until he was term-limited out last year.)

Seelbach jars.jpg
Ann Thompson
Seelbach has canned a couple different types of pickes and his bourbon chili.

Seelbach is considering commercializing the food and renting a kitchen at Findlay Market. But for now, he continues to can in his kitchen and give the jars away. His butternut squash soup might be up next.

More people are learning about Seelbach's culinary talents. A nationally syndicated show from Florida asked him to make his German potato pancakes on their TV show. You can see the episode Feb. 9.