Diablo Seasonings founder Peter Mckeone is Boro born and bred and is so passionate about the town that he chose it to as a base for his ambitious spice merchant start up. Stemming from his world wide travels Peter fell in love with food wherever he went and he wants to share his love of spices and cooking with everyone!

Check out Peter’s recent trip to Morocco at his #BrilliantlyBoro best.

Tell us a bit about you, and Diablo Seasonings

My name’s Peter Mckeone and I’m the Founder & Director of Diablo Seasonings, which is a Middlesbrough-based spice merchants business that has a popular food & travel blog across social media with 10k followers. I’m originally from Pallister Park in TS3. I could see the Transporter Bridge from the street where I grew up and I could hear the roar from the Riverside whenever Boro scored, so I’m Boro through and through. I love my hometown and my fellow Teessiders. I started writing the food and travel blog early 2018, then launched the business officially in November 2019. I have experience solo-travelling through Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Palestine, as well having traveled around Morocco and Turkey, along with many places in Europe and North-America. It was the time I spent in the Middle-East that made me fall in love with the local cuisine, I started doing a lot of cooking trying to re-create the food that I had abroad and I wasn’t happy with the level of quality (and the price) of supermarket spices, so I decided to do something about it.

What is Diablo Seasonings all about?

Diablo Seasonings is an artisan spice merchant business, dedicated to the expert sourcing, blending and distribution of spices and seasonings to home-cooks, retail customers and commercial catering clients. You can order using the Diablo Seasonings website and you can follow the social media pages for spice info, travel blogs, recipes, food inspiration etc by searching @DiabloSeasonings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Youtube, Anchor Podcasts and Medium blogs. I’m also a Senior Contributor for TripAdvisor and have been in the top 5 for TA users in Teesside, for the most reviews and helpful votes, for over 7 years now.

What’s your vision?

My Vision is for Diablo Seasonings become the most reliable, trustworthy and recognisable spice merchant in the world. I am attending as many farmer’s markets as possible and I’m slowly but surely building up a following, the positive reviews have been rolling in, which is great. I’m still on the fence about opening a retail store, as I love the freedom that social media gives us to run remote business. I do think a spices and seasonings store would be a welcome addition to the town though, so never say never.

I recently traveled to Morocco and made a documentary named Searching for Spices, I really want to make another 9 episodes at locations across the world. I want to inspire people to travel and to be more adventurous with their food. I really don’t care about material things, I’m in business to create legacy, so I’m documenting my journey on social media as I build up the Diablo Seasonings brand. In 100 years when I’m long gone, my great, great grandkids will literally be able to watch me travelling the world talking about food and travel, which are the 2 things I’m most passionate about. Imagine if you could get such an in-depth insight into your ancestors lives? It would be amazing wouldn’t it. I’m swaying away from a retail store, just simply because I spend so much time travelling and creating content, that I believe a store would dilute my focus a little as I have so many farmer’s markets, exhibitions and food shows booked.

Are you get involved with any local food events?

I’m really passionate about the local foodie events, I’m a nightmare for spending a fortune on the great produce to be fair! There are some amazing independent food companies in the North-East who inspire me every day and I feel really privileged to be setting up stall alongside them. I’m doing the Dundas Arcade Food and Craft Fair, Wynyard Farmer’s market, Stockton Market, South Shields Market, among many others. I’m really open-minded when it comes to the markets, if you want me at your market or know of one where the spices and seasonings would go down well, please feel free to get in touch @DiabloSeasonings.

I’m also at the Hotel and Restaurant Catering Show in London this month in a section named the ‘Covered Market’. I’ll be part of a collection of independent food producers from around the world, so I’m psyched for that. I have friends in California and Missouri, so I’m looking at getting out there to increase my network and to get some more clients in the US, as we’ve already had a few sales out there which is crazy really considering the company is in it’s infancy.

What’s your best dish that you cook up using your spices?

I love food from all around the world but today I’m making Jerk Chicken, so I’ll choose that! I grill it, then finish it off in the pan with a splash of Red Stripe lager over it, served with either garlic potatoes or rice and peas. See our Pinterest page for more recipes, there are literally thousands of recipes on there that I’ve pinned to my Pinterest boards. All categorized by country too, Jamaica, Mexico, Lebanon, Morocco etc.

Are you one of the only Boro-based companies to sell the products you sell?

Other than the major spice companies, Old El Paso, Schwartz etc. I don’t believe there is another independent spice merchant on the planet, who is actively travelling the world to create vlogs around the spice trade and trying to inspire people to explore new meals and to travel the world. I really do welcome DMs about food, I’m literally in my element when I’m sharing recipes and discussing food ideas, so please feel free to message me through the @DiabloSeasonings Facebook or Instagram page. Also keep your eye out for me at the farmer’s markets and come have a bit of banter with me, I’m open to suggestions as to where to create the next Searching for Spices episodes, so please feel free to throw some suggestions at me.

Tell us about your trip to Morocco!

In November 2019 myself and a friend set off to Rabat, which is the capital city of Morocco, to go to the Central Market to forge business links. We had an amazing time! Morocco is a really special country and the people are extremely friendly and helpful. We documented the full trip and posted it onto Youtube as a documentary named ‘Searching for Spices’, which has been warmly received. It’s quite obvious from our accent and mannerisms, that we’re total Boro lads, I’ve been told by many people it’s an interesting and funny watch so please enjoy. We had such a laugh making it and cannot wait to make the next episode which should be May/June time, in another slightly hotter African nation…

If you search Youtube for Diablo Seasonings, you can watch it. We chose Morocco, because it’s a cuisine I’ve loved for many years and also their spice market is world renowned. North-West Africa has an amazing climate so spices grow pretty much all year round there. Funnily enough, after I got back, Gordon Ramsay and Gino went to Morocco to do a similar thing! They must have nicked my idea!

What’s your favourite thing about Middlesbrough?

I think as oppose to any 1 thing that I love the most about Boro, it’s the whole collection of positive experiences that I’ve had growing up in this town, that’s lead to me having a really deep affection for Middlesbrough and my fellow Teessider’s. It’s everything from the football club and all the legendary players that Steve Gibson gifted us with like Juninho, Ravanelli, Southgate, Gascoigne, Viduka, Hasselbaink etc, the unique banter, the parmo, the fact that the coastline but also the moors are a short drive away, Linthorpe Road, Baker Street, Bedford Street, the Dickens Inn, shawarmas, the multiculturalism, our steel making history, the River Tees, the Transporter bridge, the Newport Bridge, Albert Park, the beautiful buildings, the fact that most people have great taste in music. The list could literally could go on and on and on UTB!

Finally – let us know anything else you may want to tell us about Diablo Seasonings!

At the moment we’ve got 30+ spices and seasonings but we’re constantly adding to the repertoire, if there is anything that we don’t have that you want, even if it’s a rare spice from the depths of the Iraqi desert, let me know and I will strive to provide it to the Teesside area, even if I have to go there myself to stick it in my suitcase!