My family moved from Dayton Ohio to Albuquerque New Mexico in 1979 where I spent my formative years. There are many unique things about New Mexico, the most being the Hatch NM Green Chile (HGC). Green Chile is everywhere. You can get a Green Chile Cheeseburger at McDonald's, or HGC added to your pizza anywhere. This is something I took for granted until I moved back East after Graduating from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces NM, just South of Hatch.
I found myself craving HGC and it was not easy to obtain. I started by transporting it back from visits home and occasionally ordering it shipped frozen. Eventually I started making a queso dip as the primary method of getting my HGC fix.
For more than 20 years I've been making Empty Bowl Queso, and I don't recall exactly when I came up with the name. I just know when I shared it the bowl always ended up empty. It's been all over the world, Europe, China, Japan, Canada, Mexico. People always say, "This is the best queso I’ve ever had, you should package this and sell it." Not as easy as people think.
A half dozen years ago or so, something amazing happened. Wegman's a NY based grocery chain that had moved into the DC area started doing a HGC festival every August after the annual harvest. They brought in a truckload and a roaster and I was able to obtain large quantities of HGC...I was buying 300 pounds a year and freezing them for future use. This enabled me to make and share more queso with more people all over the world. Being in the events business I traveled heavily and if you were a client of prospect of ours you were going to experience the joy of the HGC!
In 2017, my daughter's marching band was raising money to make a trip to Disney to march in the Veteran's Day Parade. On Superbowl Sunday, I made a big batch of queso and put a note out on Facebook targeted at the neighborhood to let people know I was taking donations for the band in exchange for queso. I ended up making 6 gallons of queso that day, and I was blown away by the messages I received from people outside of Virginia wanting me to ship it to them.
From 2017 to 2019 I produced and delivered more than 3,000 pints of queso to people from Leesburg VA to Shanghai China. All in an effort to provide continued support to the Loudoun County High School Marching Raider Band.
2018 and 2019 US Bands National Champions, powered by Empty Bowl Queso!
In June of 2020 my 15 year run in the event design and execution business came to an end due to Covid-19. I decided to go all in on Empty Bowl Queso and acquired certifications from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the National Restaurant Association.
We produced Empty Bowl Queso at the Chefscape Commercial Kitchen in Leesburg Virginia from July of 2020 to December of 2022 and partnered with ~60 independent retailers in the DC area producing and distributing over 50,000 pounds of Empty Bowl Queso. In October of 2022, Empty Bowl Queso was added to the suites' menu at Capital One arena.
In December of 2022, we moved production to Wisconsin, partnering with Scott's of Wisconsin to improve the product with real Wisconsin cheese and a natural preservative which open growth opportunities nationwide.
Mission: To Share the Joy of the Hatch NM Green Chile Pepper with the World
Vision: To Give Everyone the Opportunity to Experience Good Queso