Your Circling the News editor recently received a surprise on her doorstep. She opened a beautifully presented package to find a large, pie-like Epic S’more cookie—which turned out to be “epically delicious.” It consisted of about a dozen cookies baked into one cookie, complete with Hershey’s chocolate and toasted marshmallows.
Local realtor Anthony Marguleas had sent the cookie from Epic Mega Cookie Co. to CTN, as a way to alert residents about a new business that was launched in August by Westside residents Derrick and Kimberly Fox.
If you’re a big “MasterChef” TV fan, you may recall seeing Derrick Fox as Derrick Peltz on season six, where he was the runner-up.
He took his wife’s last name when they married because “It was a great moment to show support of equality and also our way of making our marriage unique.”
Derrick grew up in Denver, but then moved back to Ft. Meyers, Florida for high school. He joined a punk rock band, Later Days, as a drummer and started touring the country, then played for a lot of different acts (Melanie Taylor, Syd Youth, Gallo and a band called Rouge Star) before coming to Los Angeles in 2006.
When he was not out on the road, Derrick enjoyed cooking at home for friends. After watching five seasons of “MasterChef,” he said, “I decided to email them to see if they were auditioning. I emailed them a photo of me playing drums, a photo of a scallop dish I had made, and a bio.
“The phone rang 20 minutes later,” said. “They set me up with an audition.”
CTN asked Derrick about the strategy on the show. For example, what if a person is good, but is constantly on the wrong team–will he or she still make it through to the finals? The challenges and the people on reality game shows are intense.
“It is definitely hard! Hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “My strategy was to make sure every one of my plates was undeniable. There were many times I got stuck on teams that didn’t do well regardless of how well I was doing, and I got put into the most amount of elimination challenges, and still made it to the finale.”
He did have a couple of near misses, but always managed to come through to the next round. “If you ask anyone on that set, I was more determined than anyone to make it to the finale,” Derrick said. “It was rough not winning, but I did win an outstanding career. I get to do what I love every day of the week. And now I fill all my extra hours baking Epic Mega Cookies!”
Where did Derrick learn to cook and bake well enough to compete on “MasterChef?”
“I’ve taught myself how to do both,” he said. “All the information is out there, but when you know what to do with it is when it becomes fun and where you can really make it your own.”
After his success on “MasterChef,” Derrick has worked as a private chef for the past four years, which he says can be “very demanding. Word has traveled and I have been lucky to cook for some amazing people.”
One day a client asked him to make 100 cookies for office employees. “I made the cookies, bagged them up and posted a photo on my IG story,” Derrick said. “I got hundreds of messages, people asking me if I was selling cookies.”
He wasn’t in the cookie business at the time, but immediately thought, “I should be.”
He said he wanted to create a cookie that was different: “I wanted it to tell my story. It’s a little punk rock, it’s high end, and full of surprises.” He came up with a supersized cookie — something that can be shared but can also be sent as a memorable gift that will be talked about.
Currently, Derrick’s company is limiting quantity: only 50 of each flavor are available each week. To order a cookie ($30), go to EpicMegaCookie.com or Instagram @EpicMegaCookieCo. There is free standard shipping on purchases of two or more cookies.
Word of mouth is also selling the cookies, because the feedback that Fox usually receives is “OMG this cookie is F***ing Delicious.”
Derrick was asked how he got involved with the American Cancer Society, which is where he met Marguleas. “My wife’s mother would always donate to ACS, because she had lost a loved one to cancer,” he said, noting that he was working for a restaurant that was participating in the ACS Cal-Spirit Food and Wine event.
Sadly, Derrick’s mother-in-law also died from cancer, so he and his wife decided that this would be their charity, too. For the past five years, he has donated a dinner to be auctioned off, but this year he donated cookies.
“My wife Kimberly is on the board as the Auction Chair and helps get all the AMAZING gifts donated from all the businesses that people bid on to help raise money,” Derrick said. “The Cal-Spirit event is such a wonderful event, always amazing food and drink from around LA, with different celebrity chefs and public figures all working together to fight cancer.”
Derrick Fox is expanding his Epic Mega Cookie enterprise. In addition to offering Epic S’mores, there’s a Punk N’ Spice cookie: a classic pumpkin spice blend with peanut butter chips and candied bacon that comes with a dairy-free pumpkin spice frosting and extra candied bacon to decorate the cookie.
Also, Derrick has created a Celebration cookie, consisting of a dozen cookies worth of funfetti dough that comes with dairy-free frosting.
“I do all of the R&D, flavor ideas, brand, Instagram and systems,” Derrick said. “I have a lead baker, Erica, who executes the orders, and we work together every Sunday. Kimberly does all the administration. She is amazing with organization and logistics and really helps get these cookies out the door every Monday morning.”