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  • Legendary Spice – Crunch Dynasty Featured on Grid Magazine

    John Haddad February 5th, 2014 | Grid Magazine

    Chinese mythology is replete with creation stories and legends, populated by spirits and strange characters. However, not many of them have their origins in Richmond, Virginia. This legend involves a renowned chef, a creative couple, a flying lion, Mongol invaders, a raven, and an incredibly intoxicating and addictive spice mixture, Crunch Dynasty, which unites them all.


    Local marketing consultant John Mills (Release the Hounds) and Chef Shiu-Min Block teamed up to create Crunch Dynasty, a generations-old spice mixture (a dry blend of garlic, shallots, chili peppers, herbs, and spices).

    Local marketing consultant John Mills (Release the Hounds) met his wife, Anya (The Martin Agency) in New York City in the summer of 1998. A culinary mecca, it was there that he was exposed to the great cuisines of the world and especially the authentic Chinese cooking of

    his wife’s mother, Shiu-Min Block. A contemporary of and collaborator with award-winning cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, Sifu Chef Min is a well-regarded cook in many circles and contributed dozens of recipes to Jaffrey’s seminal tome on world vegetarian food. One of Min’s specialties was a generations-old spice mixture (a dry blend of garlic, shallots, chili peppers, herbs, and spices) that had come to have a place at the table at every meal.

    This legend involves a renowned chef, a creative couple, a flying lion, Mongol invaders, a raven, and an incredibly intoxicating and addictive spice mixture, Crunch Dynasty, which unites them all.

    “From his first taste, John was fascinated by the unique blend of exotic Asian flavors and balanced heat,” says Sifu Chef Min. For years afterward Mills tried to recreate the magical mixture, but it wasn’t until his mother-in-law stepped in to assist that he got it right. After an overwhelming reaction from the friends and family with whom he shared it, they decided to introduce it to a wider audience in 2012. It’s the perfect spice mixture to add to almost anything—from stir-fries to grilled meats and, as some have recently reported, even ice cream.

    Who better to brand and launch a new product than a marketing professional with experience with worldwide brands? After spending many hours talking with Chef Min, and reading volumes of Chinese legends, the central part of the marketing plan came to life through the legend of the Crunch Dynasty creation myth. Inhabited by an evil sorcerer, a brave young Wu named Shu and a golden-winged fire-breathing tiger, the legend explains how this spicy delicacy came to be and how the saved villagers come to live in the “People’s Republic of Flavor.” Unfortunately they were eventually overthrown by Mongols, but not before the recipe for Crunch Dynasty was thankfully saved and sent by a raven to a nearby province.

    The packaging that Mills and his team have developed breathes fiery life into the Crunch Dynasty legend and is the perfect platform for launching the product. Mills is demonstrably excited about this project, partly for the creative challenge but perhaps more so for the opportunity to shine a light on the culinary talents of his mother-in-law, thus ensuring the preservation of her legacy for another generation. And she is equally pleased. Smiling broadly, she tells the story of the recipe’s creation and evolution, clearly happy that the legend will live on.

     

    LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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