Shane Hill, IEM Class of 2011, writes "Alabama Tailgate" cookbook

Alabama_Tailgating_Cookbook_Shane_HillNot all IEM clients find their passion in technology – some have found it in food! That is the case with Shane Hill, IEM Class of 2011. His final project was the very successful Alabama Tailgate cookbook. And while his journey has not led him to quit his day job as technical lead at BBVA Compass, it has led to the next book idea and some successful catering gigs.  We caught up with Shane to get an update.

Screen_shot_2012-11-05_at_7.18.28_PMQ: So what has changed with you since graduating the IEM program?

A: Well, I’m still working at BBVA Compass, which is my day job, but I am doing some pretty big paid catering gigs. I’ve discovered there is a big difference between cooking for 100 friends and not getting paid for it, to doing someone’s wedding, the most important day of their life, and you are saying, “trust me I know what I’m doing.” Catering is fun though, and I’m enjoying testing the waters there.

Q: Thinking back to your Alabama Tailgate project what was your biggest challenge?

A: From the start, you have to know I’m an 80/20 person. I get most of the way there, but then I want someone else to finish it. So with the cookbook I knew I couldn’t get hung up on the details. Jennifer Skjellum was my sponsor and I’m pretty sure I drove her crazy.  Once I had a plan, I emailed her an update every week. It was funny she was like,  “you know you don’t have to email me every week,” but I knew if I didn’t  -- I wouldn’t finish.

Another hang-up was finding a template for the cookbook and deciding what font I wanted to use. I finally realized it was not an obstacle, it was me getting in the way.  No Alabama fan was going to care what font I used.

Then, once I was done with the book, I realized you have to keep marketing yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. If you stop marketing, you don’t sell anything.

Q: Looking back now at your time in IEM, how did it help you?

A: Before IEM this was all on the backburner. I knew I loved cooking and had thought about doing a cookbook, but I would never have finished it -- either because of the fear or procrastination. IEM taught me both the importance of having a plan, but keeping that plan flexible – not letting an obstacle get in the way. Never stop.  It was also important to have someone there, encouraging me and telling me, I could be the expert. What Dale teaches really does work.

Q: What is next?

A:  While I do still have my day-job I’m looking at partnering with some restaurants on menu development and I already know what the next cookbook will be…recipes from the SEC. I realized I can do recipes for my fellow Alabama fans, but that is a finite audience, albeit a large one. If I do the entire SEC – I really widen my audience. I’m also partnering with Tailgate beer this year, which is fun.

To learn more about Shane’s book check out his website. He also shared one of his recipes below. This is the same recipe he demoed on Good Day Alabama on the Birmingham, AL, FOX affiliate. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

-  1 Rotisserie Chicken

-  16 oz cream cheese

-  1 jar blue cheese dressing

-  16oz hot wing sauce

-  8oz extra sharp cheddar cheese

Pull meat from chicken

Mix cream cheese, blue cheese, wing sauce and stir to combine.  Once combined add the chicken.

Place mixture in baking dish and cover with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20 min.

Serve with chips, celery and crackers.