Q&A: Savory Test Kitchen316
with Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
Recipes Test Kitchen
There is a long list of qualities that makes Savory unique. Of course, you’ve heard about our freshly ground spices, handcrafted blends, and flavorful stocks & sauces, but I’m not talking about products here. My favorite part of Savory is our Test Kitchen (and yes, I’m totally biased). Dan Baker and I are the Test Kitchen team at our corporate office in Denver, Colorado and we spend our days writing, talking, and thinking about spices—not to mention cooking with them. (Pictured above: an action shot of Ashlee Redger & Dan Baker, aka Baker & Ash!)
Having the unique roles that we do, we often receive questions about the what’s, how’s and why’s of the Test Kitchen. And today, I’m here to answer them. Have questions that we didn’t answer here? Leave us a comment below!
What is a Test Kitchen?
One of the best descriptions for our Test Kitchen is a “souped-up home kitchen.” We have just about everything a home cook would have, plus a few extra cooking gadgets and an extensive collection of plates, bowls, and glasses that we use in all our gorgeous recipe photos.
In the kitchen, we test customer-submitted recipes (like Peruvian Turkey Burgers), develop new recipes (like Southern Gold Pot Pie), and create new products (like our new line of Spice ‘n Easy mixes). Our main philosophy in the test kitchen is to incorporate complex, interesting flavors into easy, approachable recipes for everyone.
What is a typical week like?
We don’t spend all our time in the kitchen. The beginning of our weeks is typically reserved for writing cooking notes, answering questions from customers, and publishing new recipes. Then, there’s a development day. That’s our time in the kitchen to research, experiment, and invite in the (very-willing) taste testers from around the office. All recipes get taste-tested at least once—some, like the Garden Pesto Pasta Spice ‘n Easy, get sampled upwards of a dozen times before being finalized.
Once we have recipes that are completed and ready for their close-up, we team up with Matt Osier (Digital Marketing Manager and photographer extraordinaire) to give each dish its time in front of the camera lens. After that, we go back to writing and publishing our recipes. We’ve got nearly 1,000 recipes on our website currently with more being published every week. Browse them all here.
What’s the process for developing a recipe?
Generally, when Dan and I set out to develop recipes, we start with a specific spice and work to complement its individual character. For example, when we released The Original Chicharron Salt last year, we realized it truly shines when paired with rich foods. We played to its tangy-meaty strengths by pairing it with creamy fried avocado, flavorful trout, and a subtly sweet coconut milk ice cream.
For other projects, starting out with a recipe concept and finding the perfect spice blend is the way to go. For our Sunday Pot Roast Spice ‘n Easy, I knew I wanted a roast beef that reminded me of my grandmother’s house on (you guessed it) Sunday afternoons. It wasn’t until we mixed up a blend that included peppery Pike’s Peak Butcher’s Rub and herby Table Mt. All-Purpose Seasoning that I was transported back to my childhood.
What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve written?
This is always the most difficult question! I usually answer with whatever recipe project we’re working on at the time…but if I’m being honest, I’m a sucker for our Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese. My favorite part is serving it with a variety of seasonings (I prefer Georgia Boys All-Purpose BBQ Rub) so everyone can add their own dash to the simple and creamy mac.
When I asked Dan what his favorite recipe is, he gave me a killer recipe that has to do with pears…But you’ll have to wait until February 1 for that one!
Do you have questions for the Test Kitchen team? We’d love to chat with you! Comment below or send us an email at [email protected]. Ask us about cooking with spices, tell us about how you use your go-to spice blend, or submit your favorite recipe. Talk to you soon!