AllSpicer Ben: Staff Profile

Ben1This post is one of a series of profiles of the AllSpice staff. We’re so proud of our talented and eclectic crew!

Name: Ben Jacobi

When did you start working at AllSpice? I started working at AllSpice just recently compared to the veterans here; I started in Mid-January.

How did you come to be at AllSpice? I had just spent six months traveling the US, hiking and camping and carrying bear spray, and it occurred to me that I should probably find a job. I didn’t want to work at a large company again, instead I wanted to find a locally owned spot with an atmosphere that I felt I could work in. Luckily, I like to cook, AllSpice is local, and after sending my resumé to Rory, I got a job!

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Take it easy: ideas for a simpler Easter dinner

ICI-17-Dinner-is-servedGot a little too much on your plate? Metaphorically-speaking, of course? (We’d never suggest you had too much on your literal plate — isn’t that the whole point of food, enjoying as much of it as you like? Geez!)

Even if it is filled with only good things, a full to-do list around holiday time can be stressful! You do what you can: complete all the easy stuff first, and cross off the things that aren’t necessary (or can be postponed). But you’re still left with some more challenging must-do tasks — like making holiday dinner for a big group, or being put in charge of an important part of the feast.

We’d like to offer a bit of unsolicited advice. First and foremost: simplify, simplify, simplify. Do you have to make a bunch of side dishes, when just a couple will do?  You might choose to spend more time and attention on a fancier main dish, or to make a more complicated dessert, that will be accompanied on the table by more easily-prepared salads, sides, or appetizers.

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DMACC Iowa Culinary Institute Fleur de Lys Gala

ICI-17-tablescapeAllSpice owners Rory and Andy, and several of the AllSpice crew, went to the Iowa Culinary Institute‘s (ICI) annual Fleur de Lys gala dinner at DMACC last weekend.

The Iowa Culinary Institute blends the DMACC Culinary Arts program with the community to create unforgettable culinary experiences for its patrons.  The ICI offers opportunities for the public to experience the culinary world at DMACC, and participate in activities involving our Culinary Arts students and staff.  During the academic year, ICI hosts five-course, themed meals prepared by DMACC Culinary Arts students and Culinary Arts faculty. The dinners offer a world-class dining experience. 

The crowning finale of the ICI year is the Fleur de Lys gala that they host each April. Proceeds of this French gourmet buffet dinner (with paired wines) and auction go to support an international chef / student chef exchange, which provides scholarships for the ICI program’s top eight graduates to travel to France in May where they will have culinary internships with our French chefs in the St-Etienne region.

Here is the Fleur de Lys gala menu:

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Hellraising Hot Sauce Folks Visit AllSpice

Hellraising-Hot-Sauce-Leigh-TaylorOn Saturday, April 8, AllSpice had a Hell-raising good time! The folks from Hellraising Hot Sauce came down to the store and spent several hours sampling their four gourmet hot sauces, and chatting with customers about all things hot sauce.

Hellraising Hot Sauces are made David and Leigh Taylor (pictured) in the Twin Cities. David is a Des Moines native, and AllSpice is proud to be a local source for these spicy sauces.

We sampled the Taylor’s signature chili on Saturday, a chili made with Hellraising Triple Inferno Hot Sauce. It was hot, and delicious (here’s the recipe). Many customers who stopped in for a sample commented on the unique flavor and impeccable heat balance.

The day was a great success! Thanks to all the friends and fans who came to talk with the Taylors to learn about their hot sauces, and sample the different spicy flavors.  David and Leigh had such a great time, that they want to come back for another Saturday visit. (We’ll keep you posted when we set the date!)




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AllSpicer Anna: Staff Profile

Anna-and-culinary-blowtorchThis post is one of a series of profiles of the AllSpice staff. We’re proud of our talented and eclectic crew.

Name: Anna Van Maanen

When did you start working at AllSpice?
Fall 2014

How did you come to be at AllSpice?
I was looking for a change of pace, so I applied to several local businesses. Rory hired me for the holiday season, and then afterward, I just never left. Fortunately, no one seemed to really mind.

What do you do at AllSpice?
Post to our social media pages [like our Instagram account], jar, and generally cause trouble.

What is your favorite ingredient at the store?
Chile-Coffee Rub for chicken; Black Currant Balsamic Vinegar for vegetables.

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