By Michele Stevens Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
Every now and then the line between my professional life and my personal life blurs a bit. Such was the case this past weekend. While in Austin, working on a series of foodie related/weekend travel stories for the Lifestyle section of TownSquareBuzz.com, I witnessed another McKinney native take third place in Special Variety for his wicked-good Pineapple/Mango/Habenero salsa at the prestigious Austin Hot Sauce Festival.
The festival, now in its 22nd year, is one of the largest hot sauce festivals in the world, and it benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. So, who was that other McKinney native being congratulated by celebrity judges and photographed by Austin media? None other than my sweet, salsa-making husband, David Bernard.
David started making salsas as a breakroom treat for himself and for fellow co-workers at Garland Power and Light many moons ago. It became so popular at work, that the employees started taking turns providing ingredients, so that they would always have their favorite treat on-hand for all to enjoy.
Over the years, it’s become our custom to serve David’s salsas on “game days” when we gather with friends or family to watch our favorite teams, or tailgate. We also gift family and friends with salsa during the holidays. It wasn’t long before they in turn started asking us to make up a little extra so they could do the same. And the rest they say, is history.
In June, David and I formed our new company, Game Day Foods, L.L.C., as demand for his salsas has literally outgrown our circle of friends and family. Commercial production is slated to begin this fall.
As we look forward to this new adventure, for grins and giggles, David decided to enter his most popular, most requested flavors, original recipe, roasted chipotle, and roasted tomatillo and poblano at the Austin Hot Sauce Festival. He did this for the first time two years ago and walked away with an honorable mention in the red category.
On a whim, he also decided to enter his newest creation, a pineapple/mango/habenero salsa that we like to serve with a variety of meals at our place. The intent was to observe strangers taste-test what our friends and family seem to love so much. And, I have to say, watching hundreds of people walk by and sample David’s stuff proved to be both nerve wracking and rewarding. It was fun to see the positive reactions, and even more fun to see them punch a linemate in the arm and point and smile.
At the end of the day, David was rewarded for his efforts when he heard his name called for third place for his newest creation. I can’t think of anything more rewarding for me, than it was to to bear witness to that big grin of his as he walked up to the podium to receive his kudos.
So, on behalf of the TownSquareBuzz.com Lifestyle Section, congratulations Mr. Bernard for representing McKinney well.
And, on behalf of me, great job Honey!