When I read the e-mail that all current students at the Chef's Academy were eligible to participate in a recipe contest I never dreamed that it would become such an exciting chapter in my career.
I spent days and hours upon hours developing this recipe. I started with a simple recipe that my friend Teresa made for me for the first time years ago. Since that day every get together we have either she makes it or one of us makes it. It has become a party staple.
I have researched this recipe and have never found the original recipe in print that she makes. There are many variations but not the same. When I read about the contest I knew this recipe was a winner. I also knew that it would require me breaking it down and changing it.
To begin with we used a bottled hot sauce. Well that flavor needed to be replicated. I began researching hot sauce recipes and took all of the components that I loved about hot sauce and developed my own. Needless to say we (my family and friends) sampled gallons of homemade hot sauces before I came up with the one that was my favorite.
Next I needed to come up with three different heat levels for the requirements of the contest. I kept production in mind throughout the entire process. I wanted a basic sauce that you could alter to different heat levels. This would make production much easier and the flavor would be consistent to buyers.
The recipe includes chicken so cooking the chicken that could be replicated in production was another consideration. As well as how to process the cooked chicken. Do I want large chunks or finely shredded? Oh so many considerations!
The other two layers of the recipe included a cream cheese mixture. I decided I liked the flavor of blue cheese rather than a ranch flavor.
Finding the cheese mixture was a matter of my personal preference. The recipe is going to be packaged without cheese and then you can add your own cheese after it is done. This recipe can be done with just about any cheese you prefer. My favorite to date is the mozzarella cheese.
Once the components were in place I decided that instead of layering this dip I preferred it stirred all together to meld the flavors. This also holds up better when it is sitting out if it doesn't get devoured within minutes. I also chose to microwave instead of cooking in the oven which is how it is going to be sold in the stores.
Jake came to my house about a month ago and I made the dip for him and his girlfriend. We continued to tweak it and he transported it home. Another trial. How does it transport? How does it freeze? How does it reheat? There are so many variables that go into developing a recipe.
I have been working with Jake and Cedric for several months now. They are gifted business men and I believe this product is going to be a household name. I am so excited to be on the ground floor of this and I hope to develop many more recipes for them. They are men of great talent and integrity. I am very glad to have a small role in part of their company. http://www.summersettfoods.com