Recipe Development


With his experience as a much-sought-after food stylist, Dan Macey, principal in dantasticfood, inc. has the perfect background to develop recipes for corporate food clients. As a food stylist, his primary job is produce food that is mouth-watering and eye appealing to the camera and second, as a food stylist, he is constantly selecting, duplicating and even recreating recipes to be photographed for both live television and a variety of print media. He knows when a recipes will work and often has to “fix” recipes to make them work.

He is constantly studying food trends and creating recipes that meet clients’ goals — whether it be quick and easy, or healthy or an American twist on an ethnic favorite. He is always aware of who the audience is for his recipes and works to create dishes that contain easy-to-find-ingredients while at the same time packing plenty of flavor.

As well as both a food stylist and recipe developer, Macey also lectures about the importance of food presentation and bringing the family to the table by making appealing food served in interesting ways.

Some of his recipe development work has included:

  • Creating a “Quintessential Taste” representative of five famed chefs, including Julie Child, Edna Lewis, James Beard, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi and Joyce Chen, whose images were placed on U.S. Postal Stamps on behalf of the U.S. Postal System.
  • Creating easy-to-make recipes on behalf of television personalities.
  • Creating unique and consumer-friendly recipes using Ortega products for a variety of supermarket checkout cookbooks that were then used for “back-of-the-box” recipes.
  • Creating official tour recipes for country music star Keith Urban on behalf of Kingsford Charcoal and KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce (both divisions of Clorex). The recipes included White Bread Grilled Salad and Q’ued Apple Crisp.
  • Creating recipes for Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing’s Vegetable of the Month web site. The recipes needed to use Hidden Valley Ranch dressing served with vegetables that were kid friendly. Recipes included Simple Potato Pancakes, Crunchy Waldorf Ranch Salad, Upside Down Skillet Broccoli White Pizza.
  • Turning institutional chef recipes into consumer-friendly, make-at-home recipes for a corporate food service web site.
  • Responsible for creating unique recipes for characters in High School Music 3 for a tie-in promotion by Sara Lee.
  • Creating “hot dog” bar on behalf of French’s mustard for television cooking segment that included a dessert hot dog strawberry shortcake that consisted of toasting a hot dog bun with butter and cinnamon and sugar and topping with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
dantasticfood recipe development brands have included:
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • French’s Mustard
  • Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • Sara Lee
  • Cook’s Ham
  • Grimmway Farms
  • Ortega
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Kingsford Charcoal
  • Cabot Creamery Cooperative Cheese
  • Gladware
  • Frank Capurro and Sons Vegetables
  • Aramark Foods
  • Ronson Corp.
  • Dreamfields Pasta
  • Sodexo
  • ABC’s Live with Kelly and Michael Show

Grimmway Farms / Carrot Recipes

Assignment: Create a variety of recipes for their various brands of cut carrots available in the produce section.

Carrot Hummus

1 cup well-packed Grimmway Farms shredded carrots
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup lemon juice, from about two lemons
1/4 cup cup water
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times to coarsely chop. Then let the food processor run for about 2 minutes until smooth. Using a spatula, remove the hummus from food processor bowl to a serving bowl. Serve with Grimmway Farms carrot chips, baby carrots or pita chips.

Hidden Valley Ranch / Kid-focused recipes

Assignment: Create kid-friendly recipes that use Hidden Valley recipes and a variety of specified vegetables each month.

Roasted Corn and Radish Fish Tacos

1 pound fresh, or rinsed frozen or drained canned corn
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound cod fish, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
8-10 hard corn taco shells
Cilantro to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the corn on a large rimmed baking sheet. Be sure to pat dry the corn with a couple of paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible so that the corn roasts and does not steam. Drizzle with olive oil. Place the baking sheet on the upper rack of the oven. After 15 minutes, toss the corn with a spatula to allow both sides of the corn to cook.

Place the fish on a well-oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the fish on the lower rack of the oven while the corn is finishing baking on the top rack. Bake both the fish and the tossed corn for 10 more minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the roasted corn, diced radishes and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

To serve, divide the corn mixture into each taco shell and top with flaked off cod fish. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. Makes 8-10 tacos.

Ortega / Innovation for new cookbook

Assignment: Develop innovative recipes -- updated twists on classic Mexican or American favorites -- using Ortega products for a supermarket cookbook targeted for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Meatballs

3 ORTEGA Yellow Corn Taco Shells
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon ORTEGA Chili Seasoning Mix
1 egg
2 teaspoons ORTEGA diced green chilies
1 bottle (8 ounces) ORTEGA taco sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Break up taco shells into a food processor and pulse several times to create about !/2 cup of taco shell crumbs. Place into a large mixing bowl and add the ground beef, seasoning mix, egg and diced green chilies. Mix thoroughly.

Form mixture into 30 (1-inch) meatballs and drop into a hot skillet. Cook meatballs until they begin to brown. Carefully turn meatballs over and continue browning. Add taco sauce. Coat meatballs with sauce and simmer over low heat, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Sprinkle meatballs with cheese and garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve with toothpicks.

Grimmway Farms / Easy-to-make recipes

Assignment: Create easy-to-make recipes using a variety of selected vegetables to promote greater use of vegetables

Garden Roasted Gazpacho

6 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 cups onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup fennel, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cups tomato juice, depending on how chunky you want the soup
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatoes, onions, green pepper and fennel on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in the oven.

Carefully remove the vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl. Cut tomatoes into smaller bite sized pieces. Be sure to add any of the liquid that has cooked out of the vegetables that is remaining on the sheet pan. Add the tomato juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold in the diced cucumber, cilantro and minced garlic. Chill in the refrigerator for an least an hour and up to 6 hours before serving.

Cream of Wheat / Non-traditional usage of ingredients

Assignment: Create a variety of recipes using Cream of Wheat in nom-traditional ways for a supermarket cookbook.

Fried Calamari


Vegetable oil for frying
3/4 cup Cream of Wheat Hot Cereal
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound frozen calamari, thawed, cleaned
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup cold water
Fresh lemon wedges (optional)
Marinara sauce (optional)

Preheat oil in a deep fryer or heavy saucepan to 360 degrees. Combine Cream of Wheat, cheese and salt in a shallow bowl; set aside.

Cut tubes of calamari into 1/2-inch rings; remove long tentacles. Pat dry with paper towel. Toss rings and tentacles in cornstarch to evenly coat. Dip briefly into cold water, then toss in Cream of Wheat mixture to evenly coat.

Place in hot oil. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the rings begin to brown. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with lemon wedges and warm marinara sauce for dipping, if desired.