Have you ever tasted a pasta sauce from the supermarket and thought, “I can do better then that”? Or do you make a fantastic sauce, salsa, dip, etc.? That’s what Dave Hirschkop of Dave’s Gourmet thought, which motivated him to start his company that manufactures and markets award-winning sauces to millions of Americans every year.
The thing is, he’s pretty sure he’s not the only one in America who has a great sauce. That’s why Dave is putting his money where your kitchen is by creating a national contest to determine where America’s next great sauce, salsa or dip will come from.
“I know that somewhere someone is home making their own sauce because they know it’s better than anything they can get at the supermarket,” says Dave, whose sauces have won best in the industry awards two years running. “Well, I want that sauce. I want to manufacture it and bring it to people around the world. The only problem I’ve had in that equation was how to find it.”
Enter Dave’s brainchild: the Dave’s Gourmet Recipe Challenge, which carries a grand prize of up to $1,000,000 in sales royalties. Here’s how it works:
Send Dave your recipe at the Dave's Gourmet website by December 31.
Entrants have to warrant that they own that recipe and that they did not swipe it from their sister-in-law when she wasn’t looking.
From January 1-4, 2012, Dave’s team will test the recipes and choose a bank of semifinalists.
Sauces will be judged in five categories – taste, appearance, creativity, consumer appeal and the recipe’s ability to be mass-produced. In other words, if Dave has to hand-cut bay leaves from trees found only in the southernmost tip of Italy in order to make your sauce, it might be too difficult for him to mass-produce.
Those semifinalist sauces will be taste-tested by a panel from Dave’s Gourmet and finalist sauces will be chosen and their owners notified between January 12-14.
On January 15 to 17, hundreds of food professionals attending the Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco will taste the finalists’ entries and will vote for their favorite.
On January 18, the winner or winners will be announced and notified.
Within two weeks of being notified, winners must sign some paperwork and collect their advance of $2,000.
The sauce will be produced for Dave’s Gourmet’s retailers and might have the winner’s name right on the label.
The winner will receive royalties for six years, up to $1 million.
“Now, I wasn’t anyone special when I started my restaurant and then moved into manufacturing sauces,” Dave says. “I’m just like everyone else and that’s why I know that somewhere out there, someone just like me is standing in their kitchen stirring a sauce that could very well be the best one in America. So, I’m going to find out where it is.”
Dave Hirschkop is married with three children, and graduated from Boston University back in the 1980s. Shortly thereafter, he opened a mom and pop restaurant called Burrito Madness. It was there he first started experimenting with hot sauces, later moving into pasta sauces. He started Dave’s Gourmet 18 years ago, and now has products in major retailers like Safeway, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods and Costco.