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The Trade

John & Anya Mills

John & Anya | Crunch Dynasty

After experiencing his mother-in-law's bowl of crunchy, spicy, asiany flavored deliciousness at every meal with her, John set out on a mission to recreate the intoxicating mix himself. 10 years later, and still not able to master the recipe, Anya's mother showed him the path. 


What Inspired You To Start Your Company?

Passion for unique flavors.


Tell us about your products.

We make a crunch hot food topping inspired by spicy asian flavors. 


What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?

Handmade with love and care. 


What is your favorite small-batch treat?

Pickles or beef jerky.


What Drew You To Food?

Living in NYC and being exposed to amazing food from around the world. 


Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?

Shiu-Min Block, Anya’s mother and creator of the Crunch Dynasty recipe. 


What Products Are You Working On Now?

More heat levels. 


Do You Have a Favorite Product?

No. It’s too hard to pick just one. We love pretty much everything. 


Latest Ingredient Obsession?

Sichuan peppercorns.


What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Um, Domino’s pizza with the kids. Not sexy, I know. 


What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?

Bill Murray. 


What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?

Best advice was don't believe it’s as simple as doing what you love. 


What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?

I admire Jason Alley for his food and commitment to evolving the food scene in RVA. Plus, he’s just a great dude. I also admire Peter Chang who's become a friend of the family since opening here in RVA. 


If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?

Jerk Chicken from a local Panamanian restaurant here called Caribbean Chef. Anya may disagree with that one. 


Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?

Wow, hard one. Probably experiencing the 4 course tasting menu at The Cliff House in Ireland. Chef Martijn Kajuiter is truly an artist. 


What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?

We love spending time on the James River, playing golf and watching our kids play sports. 


What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?

Currently we’re obsessed with The Districts. “A Flourish and a Spoil” is close to being a perfect album. 


What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket?

 Our favorite use of Crunch Dynasty is ridiculously simple. I love it on raw oysters to provide heat and texture and Anya eats it on avocado pretty much every day. 


Find John + Anya's Crunch Dynasty in The Box from Chef Jason Alley