December 8, 2010

Sir Kensington’s Ketchup: MARK RAMADAN

Heinz ketchup, meet your match—the days of only one ketchup option are over  thanks to Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton, founders of Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Ketchup, a high-quality, abundantly flavorful alternative to the pedestrian ketchup we’ve squeezed from the bottle our whole lives. Mark, a long-time lover of all things culinary, met Scott at Brown University, where he did “a lot of business-related stuff” while balancing not only a double major in Economics and International Relations, but also his personal food blog, Black Napkin. After graduating in 2008, Mark went on to work for the reputable consulting firm McKinsey & Company in New York until this past June, when he left to pursue Sir Kensington’s full-time. Sir Kensington’s ketchup comes in two flavors, Classic and Spiced, and for $9/jar you can enjoy this high-end condiment with any dish (Mark recommends trying it with omelettes).
And if you were wondering, “Who is Sir Kensington, and what hath he wrought?” refer to the website for his full biography and priceless “Kensingtonisms.” Monocled, mustached legends do exist!
Why ketchup?
Ketchup is everywhere—stores, schools, restaurants, hotels, airplanes, you name it. Unlike almost every other food and beverage category, though, there's really only one brand available: Heinz. We think that there's room for a more sophisticated, healthy, and gourmet option.

How is “scooping” ketchup different?
We believe high-quality ketchup should be scooped, much like a fine mustard or jam, rather than squirted and squeezed from a plastic bottle.

Who is Sir Kensington (and does he actually look like that)?
An international man of mystery—and I'll leave it at that.

What makes Sir Kensington’s ketchup “gourmet”?
Our ingredients speak for themselves: we start with a base of whole pear tomatoes, add in tang with apple cider vinegar, and sweeten naturally with honey, agave nectar, and brown sugar.

Is it your own recipe?
Of course! We first developed eight recipes at the outset and threw ketchup tasting parties with friends to isolate the best two.

Ketchup goes best with...
Burgers and fries would be my go-to, but omelettes have become my new favorite.

Ketchup’s main competition:
I suppose salsa, but ketchup holds such a unique place in people's minds and stomachs that it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

How often do you use ketchup?
Daily, perhaps hourly.

When or where are you happiest?
When I'm creating something new, particularly when it's something other people enjoy.

“A spoonful of ketchup makes...”
...the day delicious.

Best burger & fries in New York City:
Ah, this is constantly changing, and no one location wins my heart for both. I think Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger is still my winning choice for burgers, but for fries...Shake Shack is great, as is Pomme Frites in the East Village.

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