A treasured recipe that starred at family gatherings for years has turned into a second career for Kathleen “Birdie” Sheridan (pictured right). It’s for a rich chocolate ganache that her chef son, Andy Sheridan, has developed into a surprisingly versatile treat. In fact, Birdie’s Something Chocolate became a full-time job for the freelance writer and food stylist from Troy, who had been writing articles for local and national publications for 15 years before immersing herself in chocolate.
It took a nudge from Andy, who has a degree from the culinary program at Schoolcraft College, to turn it into something beyond a family favorite.
When they started in 2013, Birdie was cautious. She told her son: “I’ll give you three years.” Now, she says, “We’re going into our fourth.” And there is both surprise and understandable pride in her voice.
Birdie acknowledges that ganache is not exactly a household word. It’s admittedly upscale, which is why Andy likes the fact that it is available in one-ounce portions for those who just want a taste.
She and Andy have had to do a lot of education on the subject to potential customers during appearances at Eastern Market, Royal Oak Farmers Market, and at pop-ups such as one recently held at Williams-Sonoma at the Somerset Collection.
“I especially like the looks on kids’ faces when they try it,” Andy says.
The Food Deluxe Lover’s Companion defines ganache as “a rich icing/filling made of semisweet chocolate and whipping cream” that is used as a glaze over cakes, pastries, and tortes.
According to the Sheridans, it can do a lot more. The company’s website includes several recipes, and the ganache can be an ingredient in chocolate mousse, piped into tart shells and topped with a touch of whipped cream and a fresh raspberry for dessert, and it makes a delicious European sipping chocolate, which is a rich relative of hot cocoa.
The ganache comes in 12-packs, and in varying sized tubs — and it freezes well. Birdie’s Something Chocolate also sells tortes layered with ganache.
“We’re ready to take our little family business to a new level,” says chef Andy, who started his culinary career at 14 bussing tables at a Birmingham restaurant.
And if their sweet success continues, maybe one day he’ll be able to follow in his mother’s footsteps and concentrate on ganache as a full-time day job.
For more information, visit birdiesllc.com