When Connecticut food adventurer Kyle Rothschild can’t find an ingredient he likes, he makes his own. That led him to his latest venture: Brown Dog Fancy, a line of organic ketchups and mustards that shake up traditional notions of what makes a great-tasting condiment and marinade.
Timing is everything in a kitchen, and Brown Dog Fancy’s arrival to the local food scene couldn’t be better. Cooks, and the people who eat their food, have demanded organic, high-quality, and ethically sourced poultry, meat, and fish for years. Yet, far less attention has been paid to the condiments that accompany them.
“We spend so much time buying responsible and sustainable main ingredients, but then we marinate or top them with condiments that are full of fillers and words I cannot begin to try and pronounce. I want to know what’s in my food, and I think other people do, too,” says Kyle, who began making condiments for weekly beach barbeques that he and his wife, Sarah, hosted for friends near their Stamford, CT, starter home.
Firm in his belief that “the simple things in life are the best,” Kyle started from scratch, sourcing ingredients for mustards and ketchups that are natural and pronounceable: raw black honey from Pennsylvania, organic Dijon and brown mustard seeds from upstate New York, vinegar, spices from California, and horseradish.
He mixed them in small batches at their Stamford kitchen. Sarah—also a passionate foodie—taste-tested. Tug and Charlie, the couple’s brown Labrador retrievers, hovered underfoot, eager for hand-outs. With enthusiastic family feedback, Kyle created what he’d been missing as a chef for years: a new breed of condiments that do justice to high-quality meat, poultry, fish—and even a cocktail or two.
Today, Brown Dog Fancy has expanded to include two ketchups (All Natural Sriracha and Organic Original) and four mustards (Honey Dijon, Horseradish, Spicy Horseradish, and Spicy Mustard. All are made in small batches.
The result: mustards hum with a symphonic blend of spices that tease taste buds rather that sear them in heat or smother them in sweetness. Ketchup is pourable, tomato-y and robust, like a summer tomato picked fresh from the vine—not sticky or cloying.
Though promoted by word-of-mouth, Brown Dog Fancy has attracted a growing base of fans among area chefs and butchers, like Fleishers Craft Butchery in Westport, and premier purveyors, including Palmer’s in Darien and Walter Stewart’s in New Canaan.
Brown Dog Fancy products are also sold online at browndogfancy.com (a portion of proceeds supports the Xerces Society, an environmental nonprofit working to conserve bees and other pollinators). Pick up a bottle or a pack, then check out the recipe section or the hash tag #HowIFancy. That’s where Kyle invites customers to share their ideas for cooking with Brown Dog condiments.
The way he sees it, great food isn’t just about the ingredients. It’s also about how it brings people together. In that way, Kyle says Brown Dog Fancy is “as fancy as a loyal dog.” Or a group of friends stopping by for a beach barbeque on the Connecticut shoreline.
“Food shouldn’t be elitist. Mustard and ketchup shouldn’t be fancy, and it shouldn’t be artificial. It should just be good. It should be shared,” says Kyle. “That’s why I started Brown Dog Fancy: I wanted people to have delicious food.”