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Dave Made a "Hero of Sweden

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

 

Flag of SwedenApparently because of all my work over the years on chile peppers, the Swedish government has made me a "Hero of Sweden."  You can watch an inspiring video of the announcement here.


James BeckIt's "Fiery Foods Show or Bust" as James Beck and his cohorts drive the Spicy RV from Houston to Albuquerque.  Spicy RV’s first Friday night we descended upon Chunky’s Burgers in San Antonio, Texas. It would be safe to say Chunky’s was catapulted to national fame when Adam Richman from The Travel Channel’s Man vs Food took up the Four Horsemen challenge. James Beck of EatMoreHeat had to throw his hat into the ring and see what this burger was all about.


The Four Horsemen burger is ludicrous....

The story continues here.


Geek Shirt

Heat Scale Shirt

We are celebrating the 98th anniversary of the invention of the Scoville Heat Scale in our show shirts this year.  These are the backs of the shirts.  The front features the show logo and the date and location of the show.  A big thanks to Lee Robinson for tracking down the only known image of Wilbur's face, which he found in a college yearbook.  And to art directory Lois Manno for the designs.  For the first time in history, you don't have to come to the show to get a shirt.  We have partnered with Chile Traditions to retail them by mail order.  All you have to do is go here to order them.  Have fun!


HPP at Garden Fresh Gourmet

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

HPP Screen

 

I have just returned from a mind-boggling visit to Garden Fresh Gourmet's processing plants in Ferndale, Michigan. The image above is the programming screen for their ultra-high tech processor called HPP, or High Pressure Processing. In order to increase the shelf of their refrigerated fresh salsa and other deli delights, Jack Aronson installed this $3.5 million machine that kills every known bacterium, virus, protozoan, and mold, but not by heating. It's pressure that does it. A careful look at the screen will reveal that the pressure setpoint is 80,548 pounds per square inch, which is the approximate equivalent of being three miles under the sea. Unbelievably, the plastic packaging used withstands the pressure! This treatment extends the shelf life of their salsa to 70 days refrigerated, but Jack tells me that it's more like 100 days. 

About 12 years ago, Jack had a Mexican restaurant in Ferndale and he came as an attendee to the Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show and was inspired after tasting some fresh salsa. He started making fresh salsa and serving it to his customers and was soon supplying it to local supermarkets. Now Garden Fresh Gourmet is a $73 million dollar company and still growing at a furious pace. In fact, Jack has turned down acquisition offers from Nestle and Pepsico because he knows they would move his operation to other states and his 300 employees would be out of work. Jack still exhibits with us every year and enters the Scovie Awards. Garden Fresh has won more Scovies that any other company--a testament to high quality and hard work. For more information, go here.


Food Tech

Episode: Mexican

Thursday, February 11 09:00 PM

Friday, February 12 01:00 AM

Thursday, February 18 08:00 PM

Friday, February 19 12:00 AM

With Americans eating more than 85 billion tortillas a year, Mexican food is very popular. But did you know that a donkey is a key to great tequila? Ever wondered how many times they refry refried beans? And what do sound waves have to do with guacamole? Watch host Bobby Bognar as he travels south of the border to help an old artist make a classic Mexican cooking dish from volcanic rock. On the high seas, he'll try to keep his cookies in a rough and tumble hunt for mahi mahi. And he visits El Pinto's salsa processing plant in Albuquerque and talks with Jim Garcia and John and Jim Thomas, "The Salsa Twins" as they process their best-selling salsa. And he'll show us how a fruit that resembles a human brain becomes a classic Mexican after-dinner drink.

Rating: TVPG

Running Time: 60 minutes


BirthDave Card Sets Off Verbal Tsunami

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: humor , entertainment

 

BirthDave Card First, Harald Zoschke in Germany sent me the hilarious card at the left after asking me to model the 'Bhut Jolokia' tie.  This imagery caused a ruckus among my female friends, ranging from "OMG! That is one for the archives!" (Martha "Body Bueno" Doster), to "Are those your real boobs?" (Lois "Cave Dweller" Manno) to "There are so many things that are just wrong with this pic, Dave!" (Melanie "Cold Water" Yunk).  I replied, "But I love my new panties, my new nail color, and my implants."  Then I emailed the card to Pat Chapman, the King of Curries in England, and he sent the following report about our upcoming event, "The Pope of Peppers Meets the King of Curries," in London on May 16.

 

Reuters, London, 0922 GMT; 02-05/2010

Sales of Sports Illustrated soared as tens of thousands of extra copies were printed to cope with astonishing demand following the near exposure of America's latest sex icon, the Pope of Peppers.  The magazine owners admitted that they had never known anything like it, and that the cover design would be nominated for the 'Less is More' Award.  

Security was stepped up to hold back the crowds of adulating admirers who took to the Miami seas in boats of all shapes and sizes in the hope of catching sight of the new icon. Wearing his new papal uniform aboard a cruise ship of hot repute, the Pope revealed he has tied up a deal with the King of Curries in England, which will result in a visit there in May following his highly awaited tour of Italy.  

Asked how this would affect relationships with the Vatican, the Pope said "I do not have plans to visit my namesake.  But I hear Benedict will pay a visit to England after my own."  This was confirmed by the Vatican who were obliged to hastily plan their first papal visit to Britain since 1982. The media on both sides of the pond are buzzing with anticipation. Asked how cash-strapped UK would handle two popes in one year, the Bank of England expected to step up its quantative easing to produce the extra finance need to handle the visit. Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated "Printing money is easy.  Providing we don't run out of paper."   President Obama said a decision may be made by the end of his term. British security chiefs said measures will be put in place to handle the expected crowd. "We will bring back our troops from Afghanistan, if we have any left by then."   The palace declined to confirm whether royalty will attend, stating her majesty was not amused, but they did intimate that the King had been alerted.  

When quizzed, the King confirmed that negotiations were ongoing between the Albuquerque papal office and his own regal office in Haslemere, Surrey. They expected to announce a US/UK Fiery Food Pope-meets-King summit soon. "A lot depends on what happens when DeWitt removes that tie," he said. Happy Birthday Pappa.


'Piment Bouk' ChilesEditor's Note:  Our company, Sunbelt Shows, Inc. is joining forces with Bel Soley, Inc. to assist in rebuilding the Haitian economy.  I am urging my readers to contact Brian and render any assistance to this project that you can.

Brian Hays writes: I am the Chairman of Bel Soley, which is a company dedicated to development in Haiti by building for-profit enterprises for the sale of agricultural products domestically and for export. See www.belsoley.com. We have a U.S. distribution company based in Boston and a Haitian subsidiary that operates primarily in the southern part of the country (Les Cayes), with a country manager located in Port au Prince. [He and his family are OK.] We grow some of our own crops and buy other crops from small farmers. We started exporting mangos, breadfruit and hot peppers last year and were just ramping up our pepper exports when the earthquake hit. We are producing several thousand pounds of peppers a week now. Our hot peppers are habaneros from imported seed and the local hot pepper, a habanero variety called 'Piment Bouk'. Our target was to get to ship out 24,000 pounds per month by the end of the year. As you can imagine, all exports from the country have stopped for now. Port au Prince is the only real port of debarkation in Haiti. With the government destroyed and transportation over-burdened, we do not know when we can begin shipping again - although we are optimistic.
Haiti Pepper PlantationWe are selling our crops locally, but the current regional market is questionable and we don't know if the market can absorb the volume. Domestic distribution beyond the immediate locale is doubtful. Furthermore, our business model is based on export income. So you can see the problem.

It has always been part of our business plan to make a good quality and truly uniquely Haitian pepper sauce.  All the pepper sauce sold in Haiti now is either Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce. We know there is a good domestic market and with something different and of good quality, there should be an export market as well. But our plan was to move into pepper sauce later this year, after our fresh pepper export business was better established. Because of the earthquake, we would like to accelerate our move into the sauce business. By making sauce or mash from the peppers, we will be able to save our crops and also begin to provide edible foodstuffs to the domestic market, which is already showing signs of food shortages. As I mentioned, mangos, papayas, bananas and pineapples are readily available as a base and we can easily grow carrots. We have or can grow a range of more exotic tropical fruits as well, including passion fruit, soursop, sapote, acerola (Barbados Cherry), tamarind and more as flavorings.

Depending on the cost, we believe that we have adequate capital to set up the hot sauce operation, including bottling.We think we have found away to import equipment into the country (by by-passing Port au Prince). What we we don't have is information and expertise. Starting a business is difficult in the best of circumstances (I know, have started quite a few), but in this chaotic environment where we know next to nothing about the new business, the only way we can off-set the risk is with good advice and good partners.

* We need recommendations of experts in the business that can advise us on the sauce making process, the bottling process and any other practical, basic opertaions;
* We need recommendations of experts in food safety (we intend to meet all HACCP requirements - not only to allay fears about products from Haiti, but because it is the right way to do things);
* We need recommendations of reliable, honest equipment vendors who will provide the right equipment - not too much or too little - and collateral expertise in setting up and operations.
* We need recommendations of US (or EU) importers of pepper sauce (and fresh peppers too, since we will be back in that business).
* Any other ideas, suggestions or sources of information would be also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for your time and willingness to help. We hope to turn a bad situation into something good. If we can get this done, we will have a few new, exotic pepper sauces from the fiery country of Haiti!

Brian

Brian J. Hays
Chairman, Bel Soley, Inc
703-421-9211 - home office
703-217-6251 - mobile


Rick Browne's New Book Project

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: restaurants , personalities , history , books

Rick BrowneMy good friend, Rick Browne of "Barbecue America" on PBS, has launched a new project entitled A Century of Restaurants and because he has to travel to 100-year-old (and older!) restaurants all over the country and photograph them, he needs help funding the project.  He has found a publisher and has rounded up about 25% of the funds needed, but needs more help with the production of the book.  I am helping him with a donation and I urge everyone else to assist, especially restaurant people. Here's Rick describing it:

I'm starting an exciting new project that will involve a book and later a TV series about America's oldest restaurants. The book is tentatively titled: A Century of Restaurants, but that may change before it's published. To be specific we'll pick 100 century old restaurants from our list of 213 restaurants located in 50 states, and in fact some are 300 years old, a bunch are over 200, the rest have merely been serving up vittles for ten decades!

In a profession where the failure rate for restaurants is upwards of 60% after 3 to 5 years, these centenarian eateries stand way above their newer competitors. We're going to try and find out why they've outlasted hundreds of thousands of other restaurants by visiting these centenarians in person and talking to the owners, chefs, wait staff, and (perhaps most importantly) customers, as to why they think their restaurant has survived and flourished in one of the most competitive businesses in the country. Oh, and yes, we'll probably grab at bite at most of them as well.

I've launched the project on the Kickstarter website, a site which helps authors, movie makers, artists, and other creative folks find funding for their projects, and I would love you to go there, watch my short video, read about the project, and hopefully be inspired to throw a few bucks our way. Here is the web address.

 

 


R.I.P. Mike Cates

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Mike Cates and Renate Zoschke

<At left, Mike ferries Renate Zoschke 
around on his cooler train.

We have just learned of the passing of Mike Cates, which is another blow to Hot Shots, the company that lost their leader, Dave Lutes, late last year.  Mike worked for Dave for many years and was a familiar face every year at the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show.  We do not as yet have details about his passing, but it was unexpected.  Mike made a lot of friends at the show and would constantly entertain us with his antics.  He will be sorely missed.  Our condolences to his wife and family.

 



Emily DeWitt Appointed Food Editor

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: SuperSite news

 

Dave and niece Emily.I'm pleased and proud to announce that Emily DeWitt, who is my brother Rick's daughter, has been appointed as food editor of the SuperSite and ScovieAwards.com  She is only our third food editor, following Nancy Gerlach, who retired and lives in Yucatán, and Gwyneth Doland, who went over to the darkside--politics. (She is editor of the New Mexican Independent, a political blog.) Emily's duties include developing recipes for both sites, posting recipes to the databases, styling food shots, and editing recipes supplied by freelancers.  She will also assist me on stage when I do cooking demonstrations, and she's the co-producer of the Scovie Awards.  Welcome aboard, Emily!  Emily is married to Max Cisneros and they have three children: Andrew, Matthew, and Rachael.

 


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