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DeWitt, Dave

About | Abstract


DeWitt is the founder of the National Fiery Foods Show. He has written several books about chile peppers and New Mexico cuisine, and is known as the "Pope of Peppers."

Interviewee Dave DeWitt, male, born in 1944
Date Range 1944-2017
Date & Location May 20, 2016, NMF&RHM
Project Pioneers of Knowledge
Region Southwest New Mexico
Number of Tapes 2
Transcribed February 2, 2017


Tape 1, Side A

DeWitt began his career in radio while attending the University of Virginia. He has been involved in radio and television commercials, has written articles for magazines and newspapers about New Mexico food and travel, and during the mid-1970s he hosted the Captain Space Show.

He is the author of several books about chile peppers, and has published fifty-three books to date. He has been called a "Veteran Spice Meister," a "Chile-Head," and is known as the "Pope of Peppers."

He and his wife founded the National Fiery Foods Show in 1988. When food manufacturers began producing spicy versions of barbecue sauces DeWitt responded to the growing trend and changed the name to the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, thus adding a new dimension to the show by including not only fiery foods but also hardware such as grills, smokers, and other barbecue related products.

DeWitt's company, Sunbelt Shows, produces the Scovie Awards. The contributions to chile peppers and breeding from Fabian Garcia, Roy Harper, Roy Nakayama, and Paul Bosland are discussed.

Tape 1, Side B

In addition to writing about chile peppers, DeWitt has also written several works of fiction. He says that it is easier to write fiction, and really likes to write historical fiction because it transports the reader to that time and place. DeWitt has established an endowment at the New Mexico State University Library, and continues to add to that food history collection. The controversy regarding what is and is not authentic Hatch green chile is discussed.

Tape 2, Side A

Immigration laws, field workers, and the future development of a chile picking machine are discussed.

DeWitt has served on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum for a total of sixteen years, and is currently serving as the Board Chairman. The early days of the Museum and our growth over the years is discussed.