This year, the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) held its yearly meeting as a virtual, online event. And as part of that, ASTA Online 2021 hosted the first ever “Spice Up ASTA” Cooking Demonstration and Contest. We are pleased to announce that we competed, and received the great honor of being named a semi-finalist among so many talented chefs and recipe developers.

Contestants were asked to submit a creative video and recipe that expertly incorporated the six spices that were featured in the ASTA Online 2021 crop report sessions: black pepper, chilis, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and garlic. The competition was tight; but thanks to the recipe development talent of our very own Bradley Kuwahara who collaborated with Chef Marc Dix, we are proud to announce that our submission earned us a Top 3 finish!

Today, we are so excited to be able to share with you the video, recipe, and recipe developers that advanced us through to the final stage.

El Pollo Pibil Video

PSC Pollo Pibil Recipe from Pacific Spice Company on Vimeo.

El Pollo Pibil Recipe

✔️ Dairy Free


Pollo Pibil is a proud culinary jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula and a spice lover’s dream. Simple in its presentation, this traditional dish features slow-cooked chicken drenched in an expertly blended marinade. Centered around its key ingredient, Achiote paste, the bold combination of sweet, spicy, savory, and citrus flavors bring color and add complexity to this classic dish. Best enjoyed wrapped in a warm, homemade tortilla and topped with bright pink pickled onions and micro cilantro, Pollo Pibil is a true gastronomic delight.




StepsEl Pollo Pibil recipe video

  1. Spatchcock the chicken – Using cooking shears or a knife, slice the chicken at a 45 degree angle down each side of the backbone. Remove the bone. Then, press down until the chicken lays flat.
  2. Make the Achiote paste – In a large saucepan, add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, turn off the heat and add the spices, satl, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mix until it becomes a paste.
  3. Marinate the chicken – Place chicken in a large ziploc bag and cover it with the Achiote paste. Mix together until well coated. Marinate for 1-24 hours in the refrigerator..
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  5. Coat the inside of a Dutch oven with banana leaves, covering the bottom and sides. Add a layer of onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Add marinated chicken and add bay leaves. Lay remaining banana leaves over chicken. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 1 hour.
  6. Once chicken is cooked, let it cool for 20 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve chicken on homemade tortillas, topped with pickled onions and micro cilantro.



  • Spatchcocking the chicken helps it cook evenly.
  • Toasting the spices in oil helps them release their flavor.
  • A combination of lime, orange, and grapefruit juice mimics the flavor of the Seville oranges commonly used in the Yucatán.



Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes


Meet the Recipe Developers

Bradley Kuwahara and Chef Marc Dix

About Bradley Kuwahara: Bradley graduated from Cal State University – San Bernardino with his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He has been an R&D spice formulator at Pacific Spice for the last 2 years. With his knowledge of chemistry and his creative spirit, Bradley is a masterful spice blend developer.

About Chef Marc Dix: Chef Marc grew up in L.A. and is now a resident of Redondo Beach, CA. He is a classically trained R&D Chef who graduated from the L.A. Culinary Institute in 1999 and has logged over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Holding titles such as General Manager, Head Chef, R&D Chef, and Proprietor, Chef Marc is an expert in his field.

Enjoy the video and make sure to try our recipe!