Sir Kensington, the eponymous fake founder of Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup, is a bit like a dandified, condiment-crazy Chuck Norris. (The Kensingtonianisms section of his website, for example, includes the 'fact' that "Sir Kensington does not domesticate animals. He joins feral ones for wild adventures.")
"Ketchup is so American," actual human Mark Ramadan says, explaining Sir Kensington's origins; "The most ridiculous thing we could do is make a character who was British and anti-colonial." Ramadan and his business partner, Scott Norton, started the company when they were still in college, after realizing that there were no real alternatives to Heinz.
"People have a very specific relationship with ketchup, whether positive or negative," Ramadan says, "and we knew that if we were going to get anywhere, we'd have to be entertaining." Their mascot came to life during a series of late-night sessions where they experimented with 18th-century recipes for ketchup while listening to trance music and wearing aprons made of trash bags. "Sir Kensington was not an afterthought," Ramadan adds; "He was part of it from the very beginning."
They eventually settled on two flavors, classic and spiced, made with high-quality ingredients. Instead of high-fructose corn syrup, Sir Kensington's ketchup supplements the tomatoes' sweetness with agave nectar, honey, and brown sugar; swaps in cider vinegar for the white; and uses a much wider variety of spices. "Everything else is trying to be like Heinz," Ramadan explains, "whether they're imitating the bottle or texture or flavor. There's nothing else really different." And it actually is different; this writer truly despises regular ketchup and just about any other sweetened tomato product, but found Sir Kensington's to be not just palatable, but tasty, with a good balance of flavors.
In addition to normal ketchup applications, like fries and hot dogs, or less common ones, like marinades, Ramadan says Sir Kensington's works particularly well when it's mixed into ground beef before making burgers. As for his own favorite use, "I love spiced ketchup on eggs," he says. "You can't go wrong."
Visit SirKensingtons.com for a list of stockists, recipes, or to order directly. Sir Kensington's is also the house ketchup at numerous restaurants around New York, including Red Rooster, Market Table, and Little Owl.
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