Local DC ketchup brand, ‘Chups is not turning out your traditional idea of ketchup. This local husband and wife duo took the historical roots of America’s favorite condiment to turn your preconceived notions of a tomato-based sauce on its head. ‘Chups uses an impressive variety of fruits as a base for their ketchups—blueberry, cranberry, mango and spicy pineapple–but please do not mistake them as a jelly or jam spread.
‘Chups is so versatile that it can be used as a traditional dip, a base for marinade, or an element to spice up your hum-drum salad dressing. It’s time for mustard to start sharing the versatility and creativity of condiments in the kitchen. So, next time your mind turns to Heinz, head out and grab a jar of ‘Chups to mix up your ketchups. Read on to see the enlightening ketchup wisdom founder Kori Hill Wallace gave us.
Can you tell us about how you decided to start ‘Chups? What were your biggest challenges?
The decision to start ‘Chups came naturally. My husband, Matt, is an excellent cook and he is always coming up with new ideas in the kitchen. So, one night, we were making turkey burgers and he couldn’t have them be plain turkey burgers. They had to be fun and exciting. We had all these cherries we needed to get rid of and he found a cherry ketchup recipe online. It was delicious and we couldn’t stop thinking about it. We started researching ketchup and found that it actually has a very rich and interesting history. It originated in Asia as a fish sauce, and it was only Heinz that made it synonymous with tomatoes. Looking at this and the lack of options in the ketchup market, we decided to go for it.
The challenge we face and will face for a long time is the consumer’s idea of ketchup. In their minds, it’s only a tomato-based condiment. It takes some explaining that what makes a ketchup is actually the vinegar and the spices. The process will always be educating the consumer and showing them that it’s not a jelly.
Ketchup is ubiquitous in America, thanks to staples like fries, hot dogs, and burgers. How do you think American culture has and will react to non-traditional ketchups that don’t use, as you say, the “freg-etable”, tomato?
It’s kind of a mixed bag, but we’re finding the people who “get it” right away are the foodies and chefs that are aware of the flavor profile and history of ketchup. A lot of folks are skeptical at first, but then they try it, and they’re like, “Oh My God, this taste just like ketchup.” Some people that are Heinz loyalists try ‘Chups and love it because it’s something familiar but new.
The idea of ‘Chups is to use it the same way you use traditional ketchup rather than using it as a fruit spread like jam. What are your favorite ‘Chups substitutions?
Of course you have the traditional burger and hot dog application. I really love ‘Chups on a hot dog because it truly elevates it. (There are currently Chups hot dogs on the menu this sumer at Glen’s Garden Market and DGS Delicatessen.)
One of our big missions is to teach people who use ketchup that it can be something that they can use when they cook, like as a base for salad dressing or marinade. We recently used it on tacos and it was so delicious. I think my favorite is to use our cherry flavor as a pork tenderloin glaze.
Speaking of food, tell us about your delicious recipe testing process.
My husband is in charge of the recipes and the testing but, of course, I do all the tasting. It’s a lot of trial and error. We look at the traditional use of ketchup and other condiments and then get more creative from there. We’re trying to lift the stigma that has befallen ketchup these past years and we aim to expand its culinary horizons. In terms of flavors, a lot of people asked for a spicy flavor and a seasonal pumpkin flavor. We listen to what people want while, at the same time, sticking to our original flavors.
What advice do you have for women looking to start their own business?
My advice may be trite, but just believe in yourself. It’s very common for women to constantly question themselves and not feel cut out for what they’re doing. Surrounding myself with other women that inspire me to push myself is another big thing. The more I’m around other women who are career focused, the more I get shit done. So really, I would say believing yourself and surrounding yourself with people who will help you succeed is key.
Where is your favorite place to brunch in town?
Oh my gosh. My husband and I had our first date at Town Hall and they have a really good, consistent brunch. I would be lying if I didn’t say Town Hall. As you get older, it’s hard to get people together and my friends love to congregate there when we can. I do a lot of markets on the weekends, so I haven’t really had time to branch out. I’m a creature of habit.
What is your favorite dish to cook for brunch?
I’m such an eggs girl. I love eggs. Give me eggs all day. I eat them almost every morning. I’m traditional so, on weekends, when we can, my husband will make eggs, bacon, and toast and sometimes something like grits or home fries. I also love biscuits, so throw a biscuit in there too.
Do you prefer to brunch in or out?
We stay home a lot when we’re free.
What brunch item do you have to order if it’s on the menu?
Cheese grits. My Dad makes my favorite. He cooks them in chicken broth and they’re awesome.
Do you prefer Bloody Marys or mimosas?
Bloody Marys, if they don’t have too much horseradish. I’m particularly obsessed with Zing Zang Bloody Marys. Every restaurant should have Zing Zang.
If you had to invite a group of local celebrities to brunch, who would they be?
I would probably invite Bryce Harper and Max Sherzer with other members of the Nationals. Actually, I might just invite the entire Nationals baseball team. I’m sure they eat a lot, so we’d order all the food.