Q&A: Savory Test Kitchen

Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
Savory Spice Shop

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Q&A: Savory 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?

Photo shoot day in the Test Kitchen
Photo shoot day in the Test Kitchen

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?

Ash's favorite recipe: Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Ash's favorite recipe: Creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

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 testkitchen@savoryspiceshop.com. 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!


Comments on this Article

(guest), on January 30, 2018

Good Soup in About 7 Minutes (makes 1 generous bowlful) Cut a pre-cooked Polish sausage link into rough 1/4" wedges and brown it in a 1-1/2 qt. saucepan; add a can (15 oz.) of Healthy Choice Chicken with Rice Soup; crush (+/-)1/2 tsp. of SAVORY Italian Herbs and stir it into the soup along with a heaping tbsp. of your Freeze Dried Shallots. Warm it over low heat in until it's bubbling; pour it in a bowl, and you're ready for lunch. For a change: substitute a pre-cooked Andouille link for the Polish sausage and SAVORY Cajun Blackening Seasoning for the Italian Herbs.

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on January 30, 2018

Hey, Ash here. Thanks so much for posting that recipe; simple blend additions are such a great way to upgrade an "ordinary" soup. You can find the link to our recipe submission page above (by going through our form, it ensures we have all the right information from you so we can do your recipe justice). Thanks for reading!

(guest), on January 30, 2018

Hi Ashley, it's so great to see you on here. I loved watching you when your family lived down the road. Anyway, what are your favorite have to spices to have on hand. I love the Savory Spices and have several...........we usually make a run to Franklin, TN or i order online.

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on January 30, 2018

Hello Jane, what a small world; your comment totally made my day! I always have Park Hill Maple & Spice Pepper and Smoked Spanish Sweet Paprika close by for adding sweetness or smokiness to my savory dishes (which tend to be mostly vegetables!). So glad to hear from you!

(guest), on January 30, 2018

Hi Ashley, just a quick question about this spice. Is the sweet paprika okay for a diabetic person?

(guest), on January 30, 2018

I recently made scalloped potatoes, and added the Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle (about a tablespoon) to the sauce, poured it over the potatoes, baked it, and the taste was phenomenal!

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on January 30, 2018

None of our paprikas have sugar added, so I don't believe that it would pose any issue for people with diabetes. It's the peppers themselves that create the sweetness of the paprika when they're dried and ground!

(guest), on January 30, 2018


Definitely going to make the soup! And the scalloped potatoes with Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle. For desert, we like Haagen Daz Chocolate Ice Cream lightly sprinkled with your Hawaiian Red Gold Sea Salt. YUM!

(guest), on January 30, 2018

Oh i loved you so much. you were the cutest lil gal. I do keep the paprika on hand and i will definitely try your other suggestion. thanks so much. i love getting your emails........

(guest), on January 30, 2018

Oh my gosh, Ash, where do you begin in choosing what to start with? I own 75 different Savory Spices and have an extraordinarily difficult time choosing which one to use each day (and believe me I use Savory Spice EVERY day, and for most days for every meal). Once I choose a protein or vegetable, I stand in front of my "collection" and sniff different seasonings until I think I've found a good pairing or two to use. I could not imagine having all the possibilities you have at you and Baker's disposal - I would lose my mind!

(guest), on January 31, 2018

How did you land such a killer job?! What a fun challenge it must be to develop and test new recipes with all those delicious spices - Love Savory Spice!

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on January 31, 2018

We definitely do some of the "standing & sniffing," but I always keep my copy of The Flavor Bible in close reach for reading about tried-and-true flavor combinations!

(guest), on January 31, 2018

When you say fresh ground spice- how fresh, then do you put a dispose by date on bottle

Ashlee Redger (registered user) on January 31, 2018

We are freshly grinding spices every day in our Denver warehouse. When you get your bottle from the store or online, there'll be the date that you purchased the spice written on the bottle so you can keep track of the age of your spices. How long each spice lasts depends on many different factors (where you keep your bottles, whether they are kept cool and in a dark place, if they were sealed, etc.) so you can always taste to make sure your spices are still flavorful before you use them. Generally, ground spices will last at least a year—but whole, unground seeds will last much longer (and you can grind them fresh before using).

(guest), on February 03, 2018

Such a dream job!! Looks like a lot of fun and Savory Spice absolutely makes every dish I make which is why I switched over my entire spice cabinet. Thank you for all the great products and recipes!!

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