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Solutions From 3 Female Food Entrepreneurs in Denver Spotlight Culinary Collaboration

In quite a few metropolitan areas, the food scene can be competitive, but in Denver, culinary creativity generally stems from collaboration. Which is what occurred when a sauce built by just one neighborhood maker encouraged a brittle from an additional, which is now currently being utilized in a cookie from a third. The trio driving this meals enterprise daisy chain is Ali Schlichter of Chin Dribblin’, Margaret Restivo of Ms Margaret Maker and Lindsey O’Neil of Deliver Flours Baking.

All a few ladies are little-batch meals makers and regulars at neighborhood marketplaces and bazaars, and they’re also all pandemic pivoters.

The collaboration thought commenced with O’Neil. Before COVID hit, she expended twenty a long time as an party planner and was working at the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek in 2020 when she was furloughed simply because of the pandemic. “Since I felt secure that I was going back again to a job in about sixty times, I made the decision that I needed to really check out to consider edge of this reward of time I had been provided,” she remembers.

O’Neil experienced constantly been an avid baker, and experienced a name amongst her close friends for bringing stellar desserts to any accumulating. For her father’s seventieth birthday, she stocked her parents’ freezer with frozen cookie dough that they could delight in as a deal with just after supper. Even after the birthday stash was depleted, her father saved nagging her for re-ups of his frozen cookie dough correct, she remembers.

The pandemic gave her time and place for creativeness, so she started to develop her personal recipes, experimenting with the imaginative flavor combos that would ultimately evolve into Send Flours Baking favorites, these as the malted vanilla Pudgy Boyfriend cookie with pretzel crunch, peanut butter and chocolate chips, and the Snack Assault, which is influenced by the type of cheese crackers and peanut butter sandwiches located in many elementary-faculty lunch bins.

For sixty days in 2020, O’Neil became a cookie fairy, dropping off treats at the doorsteps of neighbors and pals, all the although expecting to rejoin the workforce soon. But when she and her co-staff showed up at the Marriott for a conference two months into the pandemic shutdown, they have been instructed they were becoming laid off for superior.

simply click to enlarge two products in brown packaging

A sauce that impressed a cookie that was in need of a brittle.

Helen Xu

“I allow myself wallow about the weekend of acquiring laid off, and then I was like, ‘I imagine I’m likely to have a cookie dough organization now,’” she suggests. She did her first bake sale in May possibly 2020 at FlyteCo Brewing at 38th and Tennyson. Which is exactly where she achieved Schlichter of Chin Dribblin’, who supplies FlyteCo with its curried beer mustard. Schlichter started her sauce brand name throughout the pandemic, just after several years of managing dining places and sensation burnt out. Due to the fact that time, both she and O’Neil have develop into staples at marketplaces, festivals and bazaars in the metro space.

Just after turning into pals pursuing the FlyteCo gig, O’Neil and Schlichter made a decision to share a booth at the Sloan’s Lake Spring Bazaar this past May possibly. They tossed about the thought of building a cookie about Schlichter’s Spicy Pineapple Peanut sauce for the party.

O’Neil was certain that the taste profile would be astounding in her peanut butter cookie dough. “[I] just desired the notes of the spicy, the sweet, the lime and the ginger to perform on the flavors,” she describes.

She started off tests the idea utilizing an adapted model of her grandmother’s brittle recipe. The outcomes have been promising, but there was a single problem: Earning a one particular-off batch of brittle wasn’t a significant deal for O’Neil, but producing it in bulk was not a small business she required to get into. Brittle is a specialty confection, and as a baker, she had no need to have to regularly offer with caramel.

That’s due to the fact caramel is “the napalm of the kitchen area,” jokes Restivo, whose business, Ms Margaret Maker, exclusively helps make gluten-totally free, nut-cost-free, vegan pumpkin seed brittle. She and O’Neil satisfied in February when they have been booth neighbors at the Valentine’s Bazaar in Belmar. They immediately bonded more than their identical histories: Equally grew up in close proximity to St. Louis just before relocating to Denver and turning their passion initiatives into organizations.

Again in St. Louis, Restivo experienced skilled as a pastry chef at L’Ecole Culinaire and labored at Truffles in Ladue, which is where by she formulated her pumpkin brittle recipe in 2011. “It was close to the holidays, and my grandma used to make peanut brittle when I was a kid as a holiday deal with,” Restivo describes. “I was feeling genuinely nostalgic, and I made a decision to sneak it onto the cookie plate we had on the menu. But the pastry chef in me just went, ‘I can make this improved. I can make this lighter and sexier [by substituting pumpkin seeds for peanuts].'”

The brittle rapidly became a hit. In 2012, Restivo moved to Denver and continued her culinary profession at Linger, but once COVID shut down eating places, she made the decision to take gain of the Cottage Meals Act to provide her pumpkin seed brittle specifically to people. She formally included Ms Margaret Maker in December 2020, then expended 6 months perfecting her recipes, sourcing elements and coming up with labels and packaging.

Changing from a professional kitchen to her residence kitchen area was not with no its road blocks. She was used to the perks of obtaining suppliers supply ingredients to the restaurant’s doorstep. Now she was coordinating pickups for 200 lbs . of uncooked pumpkin seeds by herself. When she nailed down the recipe and method, her to start with market was the Sloan’s Lake Bazaar in June 2021.

Practically two a long time afterwards, at the same market, O’Neil posed the dilemma of collaborating: Would Restivo be interested in establishing a Thai-spiced pumpkin seed brittle motivated by Schlichter’s Spicy Peanut Pineapple sauce that would then go into her Thai Dye For peanut butter cookie? “Then we would have this cookie that incorporates three gals who achieved accomplishing these markets, who all begun our corporations all over the exact time,” says O’Neil.

Restivo desired no convincing. “I bought a bottle of sauce from Ali that day and then went property and started off enjoying,” she recalls. It took a few iterations, but she arrived up with a recipe that infuses her caramel base with lemongrass extract, fresh ginger, lime peel and kaffir lime leaf. Then she makes the pumpkin seed brittle as regular in advance of sprinkling on dehydrated lime zest and chili flakes.

She describes the flavor as a roller coaster: It starts out spicy, “and then the lime form of kicks in, the ginger sweeps in and rounds out the heat,” Restivo suggests. “Then you get some very good, virtually palate-cleansing warmth and some brightness from the lime zest.”

Prime of brain in establishing this new “collabrittle,” as it’s identified as on the packaging, was making certain a equilibrium of flavors that remain accurate to the sauce and acquiring a texture that would do the job properly with O’Neil’s cookie dough. As for the cookie, O’Neil crunches up the brittle and mixes it into her common peanut butter dough, then sprinkles the leading with additional items of brittle in advance of baking. The resulting take care of is comfortable and gooey, with occasional bursts of warmth and citrus and pretty crunchies during from the brittle melting and re-caramelizing.

“We really don’t have co-staff anymore, so our other suppliers are like our co-personnel and collaborators that we can bounce strategies off of. And so it’s just interesting, and Margaret is always so psyched about issues, so it’s pleasurable to work with her on things,” says O’Neil.

Schlichter echoes the sentiment: “It’s been these a entertaining journey and these kinds of a entertaining time collaborating with such incredible makers. Equally Lindsey and Margaret are so proficient, and I really like possessing them as mates, and awesome inspiration for females in small business. I’m so grateful for all the associations I’ve developed in this local community,” she suggests.

The collaboration has aided all of their businesses, especially when all a few occur to be at the very same current market. “I convey to men and women, ‘Oh, if you like this cookie, you ought to go see Margaret and get the brittle, and then go suitable up coming door to Ali, and she has the sauce.’ All 3 of us are doing our model of that,” suggests O’Neil.

They are presently conversing about performing extra collaborations, as well as maybe marketing each and every other’s merchandise. Other long run ideas are in the performs, as well. “I would like to have a bakery-coffee shop and then do output in the back for the frozen cookie dough,” states O’Neil.

“Ultimately, I hope the brittle small business potential customers me to be equipped to open up a restaurant or cafe of my personal,” Resitvo adds. “That was constantly the dream.”

Chin Dribblin’, Ms Margaret Maker and Send Flours Baking will all be on hand for the 4 Mile Historic Park Pumpkin Competition October 14 and 15. For additional facts, stick to them on Instagram @chindribblinllc, @ms.margaretmaker and @sendfloursbakingco.