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Dare Maxim: Can Maxim Create a Best- Selling Taco Bell Gut Bomb?

Taco Bell dared us to invent a menu item in its test kitchen. They immediately regretted it.


Photographed for Maxim by Chris McPherson | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

The crunchy shells, gooey cheese, and sweet meat from Taco Bell may not constitute a gourmet meal, but I’ll be damned if there’s anything I’d rather stuff in my fat face at 2 a.m. (sorry, White Castle). So you can only imagine my joy when I was dared to go to the fast-food giant’s corporate headquarters to create my own menu item.
 
After arriving at the building—in a nondescript office park in Irvine, California—I met Liz Matthews, the company’s chief food innovation officer. She showed me to a classroom complete with stadium-style seating and the same exact kitchen as every Taco Bell the world over. I saw all the ingredients I had to work with, from the three kinds of Doritos-dusted taco shells to the many different types of meat to the huge variety of sauces and toppings. I scrubbed my hands, threw on gloves, and got to work.


Photographed for Maxim by Chris McPherson | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
 
I had no plan for my menu item. Like a taco-meat-loving Mozart, I figured I’d find divine inspiration from the ingredients. And, boy, did I. First I crammed three different shells with meats (beef, chicken, and more beef). Then I put three different sauces on each of them, and topped ’em all with cheese, sour cream, ghost pepper powder, and Flamin’ Hot Fritos. Finally, to complete my meaty symphony, I wrapped the whole thing in two giant tortillas. I named my masterpiece the Flamin’ Hot Triple Taco Maxim-stravaganza and took a huge bite. Delicious! When I showed it to Liz, however, she looked less than enthused.


Photographed for Maxim by Chris McPherson | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
 
“We were going to put your product in front of our consumers,” she said, “but I feel like we just can’t.” Ouch. Why? “It’s really not portable, and there are a lot of flavors going on.” Is that the only problem? Of course not. “We do things pretty fast, and that took a long time to build,” she explained. “A typical taco takes 13 seconds; you took five minutes.” Well, at least the name’s cool…right? “It’s a lot of words to say at the drive-through. Sorry.”

Photographed for Maxim by Chris McPherson | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013
 
Unfortunately, it seems that the Flamin’ Hot Triple Taco Maxim-stravaganza won’t be making it to a Taco Bell near you anytime soon. Like Icarus of Greek mythology, I flew just a little too close to the sun (or, in this case, the heat lamps).