Memories of gathering homegrown produce and herbs on his grandparents’ farm as a boy remain vivid to Marshall Bartley. That is when he cultivated a passion for creating dishes from scratch and serving them at family dinner after church. Today, he might accompany a brunch featuring Eggs Benedict and steaming hot potatoes with the salsa he developed using ingredients reminiscent of those childhood days on the farm.
A Centerville native who has worked in kitchens around the country as a chef, Bartley launched Red Headed Sauce Company in July 2017, headlined by his signature “Fresh in a Jar” mild and hot salsas, and marinara sauce. Bartley, who graduated from Centerville High School in 1989 and serves as an executive chef for a catering company in Washington Township, crafted the products based on recipes he has crafted over 25 years in the culinary field.
After graduating from the National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan College in Louisville, Bartley honed his skills and embraced the robust flavors from meticulously sourced produce, herbs and meats during his tenure at private clubs and restaurants nationwide, including NCR Country Club in Dayton.
“The idea for launching the brand was first thought of several years ago from the encouragement of guests who remarked how much they liked the salsas and sauces,” Bartley said. “I returned to Dayton a few years ago and, in time, I received the support of an investor and decided that it was time to turn an idea into products.”
Manufactured by Hinkle Fine Foods in Dayton, the Red Headed Sauce Company brand is inspired by the red hair Bartley had when he was a boy. The “Fresh in a Jar” product line included mild salsa and medium hot salsa as well as the marinara sauce. All three items feature Stanislaus tomatoes from California. The marinara includes garlic, onions and basil. The mild salsa features tomatoes, onion, garlic and fresh cilantro along with honey and a hint of citrus. The medium hot salsa showcases tomatoes, onion, garlic and fresh cilantro accompanied by finely chopped Jalapeño and Habañero peppers for a subtle heat that enhances the overall flavor.
Chips and salsa are a favorite combination. Bartley also encourages cooking enthusiasts to incorporate the Fresh in a Jar salsas to make dishes like braised meats such as pork shoulder for pork carnitas, and chuck roast for flavorful beef tacos or filling for burritos.
“Bone-in chicken for pulled chicken tacos, adding salsa to create Spanish rice, is one of my favorite ways to use Fresh in a Jar salsas. You can also add them to steak fajitas or taco meat for an extra burst of flavor,” Bartley said. “Salsa adds a robust flavor to even the most traditional dishes. I love chips and salsa myself, but as a chef, I incorporate salsa into many of my recipes.”
Chicken parmesan is one of Bartley’s favorites, and his Fresh in a Jar marinara sauce is a complement to that. Yet, like salsa, marinara is a versatile sauce. are other examples on how to implement marinara sauce beyond traditional pasta dishes. Use fresh shrimp and shellfish such as clams, mussels, scallops to create a traditional cioppino. Veal osso bucco, a traditional Italian dish made with veal shanks; and chicken cacciatore, classic braciole, a rolled beef dish braised in rich tomato sauce; and Italian meatloaf made with ground pork, veal and beef are other examples of what can be made with marinara sauce.
“Through my many years of cooking and working in different parts of the country, I find that Italian food is one of the most accepted cuisines,” Bartley said.
Bartley is building Red Headed Sauce Company brand by getting the items in area specialty stores and grocery stores like the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville and Dot’s Market locations. He gives a portion of sales to The Pink Ribbon Girls, and Red Headed Sauce Company also has a fundraising program for schools, organizations and groups.
For more information, visit www.redheadedsauce.com.