Key West Key Lime Shoppe Interview With Chef Kermit
Chef Kermit has been running the Key Lime Pie racket in Key West for 17 years. He is a master of self promotion and after he's done baking pies, which he does every morning from about 6 to 9 am, he does a comedy schtick outside his shop for the tour busses that pass by.
All you economic nihilists out there take note, Chef Kermit says his numbers, and tourism in general are up so far in Key West this year. "It's picked up quite a bit, it's running ahead of last year, people don't wanna go to Mexico, they're afraid to go out of the country right now, and if you shop around down here you can get some good deals."
Short Order spoke to Chef Kermit by phone and asked him some questions about Key Lime Pie. Here's what he had to say...
NT: How long you been makin' pies?
CK: I been making em since I was a kid. My grandmother taught me. Her name was Maude Wilson.
NT: What makes your pies special?
CK: Real key lime juice...most people are using regular lime juice.
NT: What makes your pies different from other pies in the Keys?
CK: We use condensed milk. Our main competitor uses powdered milk. They're called the Blonde Giraffe Pie Company. They're cheapskates. Its not really a rivalry. The locals recommend us to tourists and new people alike, we pretty much have a really good following.
NT: Are you afraid that giving away your recipe could mess up your business?
CK: Not at all. Most people don't wanna cook a pie nowadays, they don't wanna bake, but then again I sell the juice too, so if they wanna bake they can buy my bottle of key lime juice with the recipe right on it with my website on it so they can make the pie themself.
NT: How'd you get the name Kermit?
CK: I was born the year Teddy Roosevelt's son passed away and his name was Kermit. My mom, she ran out of family names by the time they got to me, I was the 4th boy, so they named me Kermit.
NT: Are there any other ways to make a key lime pie?
CK: Originally it was an unbaked pie because the action of putting the lime with the egg and the milk curdles and cooks the pie mixture, it's a chemical reaction, in the old days that's all they did, but now with all the health concerns they get baked for about 10 or 15 minutes.
Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe
200A Elizabeth Street
Key West, FL 33040
Open Daily 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Call 305-296-0806 for more info or log on to http://keylimeshop.com/