“For one little girl, the journey started in her mother’s tiny kitchen in Ghana where her love affair with spice was ignited. Her flavorful journey continued all over the globe, spurred by her insatiable appetite for travel. She played with exotic palates; she tested cuisines, she concocted condiments. As her experiments with spices grew, so did the demand for her homemade sauces which all boiled down to what you now find in this jar: bottled up joy handed down through three generations to spice up your life”.
ESSIE BARTRELS sat down with Soul and Salsa for a One on One Interview
How old were you when you first started cooking? – 8 years
What kind of cuisines did you cook in your early years? – Traditional West African/Ghanaian dishes. Fufu, Banku, Okro Stew, Jollof, Palm Nut Soup, Peanut Butter Soup, Spinach Stew.
How has your palate changed? – At a very young age, I was exposed to a number of different cuisines and as I grew older I explored them further by traveling and learning about other cultures, living on the food channel, taking classes in different countries, culinary school, and learning from friends with different food backgrounds.
What is unique about your flavors and/or sauces? – They are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted because they blend flavors that are either unheard of or that no one will think to combine. They fuse West-African spices, flavors and cooking methods with cuisines from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and South America.
What spices are healthy for you? – Spices in general are very healthy for you because they add flavor without adding calories. Alligator Pepper for instance has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
If a woman wants to be romantic with their spouse; do you know what spice aromas are a turn on for men? – I am no expert on this but according to folklore, Alligator pepper when ground and used in stews or soups can act as an aphrodisiac. I haven’t used it for this particular purpose and without it in a blend so I cannot attest to this!
When you cook for yourself; what is your favorite meal contain of? – I always go back to my favorite meal as a child. My mom would cook us plantains with spinach stew made with red palm oil, ground and roasted fresh peanuts, roasted onions, tomatoes and salted tilapia. These days, I get to add that extra flavor of my sauces to take it to the next level.
Which country do you think has the best food? I really want to say Mexico… because I love the flavors, they are very similar to what we have in Ghana but Ghana has to be the best place for food. We have such a variety of fruits, seafood, root tubers, spices, herbs and meats. Whether is wild game, or farm raised, we definitely have a plethora of choices and I guess no matter where I eat, Ghana still remains supreme!
Have you ever considered going on a Reality show to promote your cooking style? – Definitely not a reality show but I’m working on creating a youtube channel to show people how to use our sauces and spices and the new line of products that we launch in the future.
What are your future endeavors/links/events? – I am currently working on launching a Crowdfunding campaign to help take Essie Spice to the next level. From those proceeds I will be kick starting new products that are in the pipeline and auxiliary items like cooking pottery, plates and aprons.
To buy these amazing spices; goto http://www.essiespice.com/