Ron Douglas is the New York Times bestselling author of the America’s Most Wanted Recipes series, which includes, most recently, America’s Most Wanted Recipes Just Desserts. He is a former finance director at JP Morgan and founder of the #1 copycat recipe website, RecipeSecrets.net. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.BECOME A FAN
A. I grew up in a family with Southern roots that loved to cook. As a kid, I used to be my grandmother’s “personal assistant” helping her at the grocery store and in the kitchen as we prepared dinner for the family. The best feeling was the smile on their faces and the quiet in the room as they enjoyed our food.
There is no wonder why I’m a “Foodie” today. But it wasn’t until my wife challenged me to make her KFC’s Famous Fried Chicken that I became hooked on the challenge of recreating restaurant recipes that tasted just like the original. The first place I went to research recipes was the Internet, which was a frustrating experience at the time. I found lots of recipes which were either incomplete or not even close to the original. But, I also discovered there were thousands of people who were also into “recipe cloning” and were searching the Internet everyday for new “secret recipes” to try. Having been in ecommerce at the time, I thought it would be a great idea to create a community website where these people could share their results and work together to create accurate clone recipes. “The Secret Recipe Forum” was launched and became the research hub and “virtual think tank” which inspired this cookbook. Today www.RecipeSecrets.net has over 70,000 recipe cloners, and over 179,000 newsletter subscribers.
Each week, I would try to clone a new restaurant recipe and share the results with my members. Needless to say, I became a regular at many of the restaurants and was on a first name basis with a lot of the servers. Overtime, I developed several proprietary methods for creating accurate clone recipes. For instance, oftentimes I would go to the restaurant and explain to the waitress that I needed to know all the ingredients in a particular dish because my wife has “really bad food allergies.” This was just one of the creative methods I used which was effective.
Members of the website would also try the recipes and add their feedback and recommendations. As the website grew, it became more than just a hobby. Cooking experts and even professional chefs began getting involved with our recipe cloning movement.
For many people, recreating secret restaurant recipes at home was not just a fun way to impress their family and dinner guests, it was also a great way to save money.