88 ;e Costco Connection OCTOBER 2015
COSTCO MEMBER DENISE Fernandez
and her fiancé, Kris Rotonda, are seriously
smitten with puppy love. Early in 2014, the
couple, who live in Clearwater, Florida,
launched You Must Love Dogs Dating (you
mustlovedogsdating.com), a dating site that
brings dog lovers together. About six months
later they followed up with the Doggy
Cooking Network on You Tube. Their show
walks dog owners through the preparation of
simple, healthful recipes for their pets (they
purchase many of the ingredients at Costco)
in much the same way that other popular
cooking shows help people learn to cook for
themselves and their families. Neither Rotonda
nor Fernandez is a professional chef, but
Rocky, Coco, Kobe and Jordan, the couple’s
four dogs, taste-test each recipe.
Rotonda, who pampers his canine com-
panions with home cooking on weekends, has
been around dogs most of his life. “Rocky is
my lifelong dog,” he says. “I got him when I was
8 years old. He is 20 years old and still moves
very well. That would be 140 in dog years.”
He says he started cooking for his dogs
because he knows it’s healthier for them and it’s
just plain fun. Fernandez, on the other hand,
had never owned a dog when she met Rotonda.
But, as she and Rotonda grew close, her love of
dogs took root. “She is a true blessing and now
a big dog lover,” Rotonda says.
The couple’s latest business, PupPot (pup
pot.com), a cooking, serving and storage system for preparing the homemade meals they
create on the Doggy Cooking Network, is the
“next logical step” in their current entrepreneurial path. The PupPot system consists of a
3.8-quart stainless steel cooking pot, a paw-shaped serving base and two serving and storage bowls. Rotonda and Fernandez also put
together an e-book with recipes.
“I figured that if Denise and I were teaching people to cook for their dogs, it just made
sense to provide them with the right tools,”
says Rotonda, who made his living in commercial real estate until he started to devote his
energy to dog-related ventures. The couple,
who will marry this month, plan to expand
their cooking line to cats, and will eventually
offer PupPots in all sizes to accommodate pet
owners with dogs of any breed.—Will Fifield
Costco couple starts businesses
dog lovers and dogs will love
for your pet
¼ cup grated cheese
4 large eggs, scrambled
Place the potatoes in a colander, lightly
salt and set aside.
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat.
Mix in the potatoes, carrot and corned beef.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Cover pot.
Stir every 5 minutes. Cook until potatoes are
tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in half-and-half and turn off heat. Season
with pepper and cheese.
Top hash with the cooked eggs.
The Costco Connection
In addition to carrying most ingredients for
homemade pet food, Costco offers a variety
of high-quality cat and dog foods specifically
targeted to your pet’s age, weight and other
St. Puppy’s Day Hash
2 baking potatoes ( 1 to 1½ pounds), peeled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into
½ cup shredded carrot
¾ cup chopped corned beef
½ cup of half-and-half
Bacon Rice Cakes
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 slices lean bacon, cooked and
finely chopped (retain bacon fat)
1 large egg
½ cup dried bread crumbs
Mix rice and chopped bacon.
Add egg and bread crumbs to rice and
bacon mixture. Combine thoroughly. Wet
hands to prevent sticking, then form the
egg-rice mixture into 4 thin patties.
Reheat the bacon fat in a skillet
over medium heat. Add the rice cakes
and cook, turning once, until golden
brown—about 4 minutes on each side.
½ cup cooked brown rice
¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
½ teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, stir together the rice,
peas, chicken, egg, bread crumbs and
parsley. Form into 4 equal patties.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high
heat. Add the chicken patties and cook,
turning once, until golden brown—
approximately 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove from
the skillet and let cool slightly.
Clockwise: Kris Rotonda, Denise
Fernandez, and Kobe and Coco,
two of their four dogs.
Recipes provided by Kris Rotonda and
Denise Fernandez. Each recipe serves
two to four, depending on the size of