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Quick Bites: Cowboy George, the chili-head, rocks on
Lifetime love of spicy foods fuels Blaze Gourmet
This story is part of a special series.

Vivian Goodman
Courtesy of Blaze Gourmet
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In The Region:

Northeast Ohio has increasingly varied tastes. Today, we're offering a treat for lovers of salsa with Cowboy George, the owner of  Blaze Gourmet.

Blazing new frontiers in salsa

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A lot of the specialty gourmet products that are produced right here in Northeast Ohio are sold at farmers’ markets. And they are all over the place these days.

We found Cowboy George at Shaker Square at an indoor farmers’ market.

Is this where we normally would find you, Cowboy George?

“Correct. Actually this is my 4th year at the farmers’ market run by North Union. But I do farmers markets east side, west side, throughout Cleveland.”

He’s a proud product of the city himself.

“Out of Cleveland’s west side.”

Where do you produce your salsa?

“We’re based in West Park. Our kitchen is in Westerville, Ohio.”

What’s the ‘cowboy’ about?

“Cowboy George. I’m a horse fanatic, growing up around horses, especially thoroughbreds owned by my father and his friends. It stuck at a young age and it still works today."

Something else that stuck since his childhood is his love of super-spicy food.

“My father being from Hungary, and to this day it continues. Definitely a chili head, I’m a pepper fanatic growing up around pepper gardens. The spicier the better.”

And for his ingredients, the closer the better. He prefers to use Ohio produce.

“Pepper, tomatoes we get from Piqua, Ohio. Sometimes we have to go next door for cranberries, to Michigan. But we try to stay in the tri-state area.”

Cowboy George makes hot sauces, salsa, and also a bloody Mary mix. You can buy it off his website.

“Right now our current lineup goes from mild to wild. With a line of 9 salsas and 9 hot sauces. Everything from no heat with fruit including cranberry-mango up to the super-hot with black bean and corn. Then the hot sauces, mango, curry, all across the board.”

Let’s taste some. What have you got for me here. Blaze mild. Put a little bit of that on my corn chip, and let’s see how I like it. A little sweet and a little bit spicy. What’s in there?

“Absolutely. That one is a little bit on the sweeter end of our original sauces. We use tomatoes, a little amount of jalapenos, turbinado sugar gives it the slight sweetness. And then it has garlic notes as well. And pretty all-purpose. You can do it on a chip. It’s great on scrambled eggs, grilled chicken breast. I enjoy it on baked potatoes myself.”

What do you think about the palates of Northeast Ohioans after purveying your delicacies for 4 years.

“Actually Cleveland, Ohio, not to sound pompous, but I predicted that the culinary scene in Cleveland was what was going to put it on the map. I think it’s absolutely strong and getting stronger.”

Thanks so much Cowboy George.

“Thank you. Rock on and have a wonderful day.”









Related Links & Resources
Cowboy George's website

Listener Comments:

I do not understand why you publish that the products are MADE by Blaze Gourmet when the salsas are someone else's products and are just private labeled for Blaze by a company that this cowboy fellow has nothing to do with in Westerville (stated in the article which is near Columbus) and where his other sauces are made elsewhere. The owner of Blaze sells products under his Blaze label, he is NOT a manufacturer, and it is a total disservice for him to inadvertently assert as such and your failure to fact check properly.

Posted by: Marty Rosenas (Wooster) on December 1, 2014 8:12AM
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