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Fiery Foods Author Spices Up NMSU Executive Lecture Oct. 14

LAS CRUCES - Chile authority and New Mexico State University adjunct faculty member Dave DeWitt will discuss entrepreneurial opportunities in a growing number of chile-related businesses at a special executive seminar Oct. 14.

International chile expert Dave DeWitt, president of Fiery-Food & Barbecue magazine, will speak Oct. 14 as part of an executive lecture series sponsored by New Mexico State University's agricultural economics and agricultural business department.(09/22/2004) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Johnson)

"During the past 20 years there's been a fundamental shift in what Americans eat in terms of liking peppers and hot foods," said DeWitt, who leads operation of Albuquerque's annual National Fiery-Foods Show and Fiery-Food & Barbecue magazine. "This has largely been due to education. People now know that not all chiles are going to burn you out."

Chile's rise can also be attributed to the growth of ethnic cuisine, increased worldwide travel and a profusion of chile-related cookbooks, Dewitt said. "Spicy foods that weren't commonly available just a few years ago are now much are easier to find," he said.

DeWitt will speak at 3 p.m. in Room 105 of Wooton Hall. His free, public seminar is part of an ongoing lecture series from NMSU's agricultural economics and agricultural business department. A reception will follow DeWitt's presentation in Room 265 of Gerald Thomas Hall.

DeWitt is on the board of directors for NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute and the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. In addition to business duties, he serves as an adjunct faculty member in NMSU's Extension economics department.

"As an adjunct faculty member, Dave DeWitt is an important resource for our students who are interested in marketing and entrepreneurship," said program coordinator Rhonda Skaggs, an NMSU agricultural economist. "He's also one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers and spicy foods. We're glad to have his insight into this important New Mexico industry."

During his three-decade career, DeWitt has written many magazine and newspaper articles on peppers. He also co-authored several cookbooks with Nancy Gerlach, including "The Fiery Cuisines," "The Whole Chile Pepper Book," "The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia" and "Barbecue Inferno: Cooking with Chile Peppers on the Grill."

In the late 1980s, DeWitt broke new publishing ground with the successful launch of Chile Pepper magazine. Serving as editor-in-chief for nine years, he built a worldwide circulation of more than 50,000 subscribers before leaving the publication in 1996. DeWitt now owns and operates Albuquerque-based Fiery-Food & Barbecue magazine, in addition to serving as president of Sunbelt Shows Inc.

DeWitt earned a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in literature from the University of Richmond.

For more information about the seminar, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, contact Skaggs in advance at (505) 646-2401 or e-mail rskaggs@nmsu.edu