Heirloom beans are a crop that are indigenous to the Americas. Yet, for some reason, they have largely been forgotten. Steve Sando has set out on a mission to change that by growing, harvesting and reviving a full lineup of new world bean varietals. Favorites of Chefs across the country (and us!), Steve is a prime example of what it means to follow you passion and live what you love.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I was a frustrated home cook.
Tell us about your products.
New crop, New world dry goods, with a focus on beans
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
Hopefully that a person was involved in the production, not just a corporation
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
A simple bowl of beans with maybe a squeeze of lime, with good tortillas
What Drew You To Food?
I think bad food, or the lack of good food, got me into gardening and while I liked flowers, I really needed my plants to produce something.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
8 hours of sleep
What Products Are You Working On Now?
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
People ask me all the time which is my favorite child. I love them all, but for different reasons. We have a lot of varieties and I tend to be in love with whatever I made last. I'm a bit of an infidel.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Oregano Indio. It's not a European oregano. It's earthier and even though it's from a very specific part of the Huasteca region of Mexico, it's universal and goes with everything.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Roasted poblano chiles in a tomato sauce that had a piece of canela steeping in it, plus some queso fresco. With brown rice.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
I've been really lucky in that I've met and even have relationships with most of my food heroes. Diana Kennedy, Paula Wolfert, Georgeanne Brennan, Deborah Madison and even Marcella Hazan. I know how lucky I am.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
I think a lot of people believe a good idea and a pretty website are enough. My years in farmers markets were brutal but it was the best school imaginable.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Baia Pasta, Fatted Calf.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
I don't know what it would be but I think the cuisine of Veracruz would be my choice. And I wouldn't mind eating it there, either.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Maybe having Diana Kennedy make a meal, featuring beans, for me at her house in Mexico.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I have a well-known love (and collection) of Mexican movie Posters.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Classic 50s Americana: Frank, Ella, Sarah, Peggy, etc...