Marlene + Michael Bernstein of Savour This Sauce
Looking for yummy, gluten- free and vegan sauces to use in your recipes?! If so I have the perfect company for you! Savour This Sauce, is a brother sister duo who have created some of the best tasting locally made sauces in LA. Originally, Marlene and her brother Michael Bernstein were catering, which they still do, but Michael suggested Marlene take her sauce recipe and turn it into a full line of artisan sauces. All of their ingredients are locally sourced from farmers markets in Los Angeles. I chatted with Marlene and Michael in their kitchen as they showed me how they make their Pistachio Mint Chutney. Not only did I love their product but I also loved the strong relationship Marlene and Michael have not only as family but as business partners. They were both filled with enthusiasm for their product topped with a lot of goofiness. It was a real pleasure meeting and learning about them and the process of making their sauces. Tomorrow they will be launching their kickstarter! You can help support them here! In the meantime, get to know Marlene and Michael a little better through this interview I did with them! :)
Growing up did you ever think that you and Michael would have started a catering business together?
"It was not in the realm of thought that we would own a catering business together, specifically. The idea of working together or owning something together had been a thought that had ben entertained, but not too seriously. The company was started so precipitously; there was really no planning stage at all for it."
You are obviously siblings that really get a long to be able to work together! What’s the best part about working with family?
"Working with family provides something that working with non-family simply cannot. You see, when having a partner in a business, your career goal (that being the success of the business) is aligned. So too is it with family in business together. But coming from such a tight knit family, our life goals often align as well."
I think that’s really cool that you spent time on a farm! What was something that you learned while being there that has stuck with you through to your catering business?
"Making things from scratch is always the way to go. Not only can one take more pride in the outcome of a meal when they have cooked and assembled it from scratch, but they feel more confident in promoting it as their own creation, with characteristics that reflect them, as it is an extension of them."
Catering is a lot of work! What is the most important part of the process when catering an event? (Such as planning out what you’re going to cook, how much food to get, etc.)
"Planning is critical. We must get our numbers correctly. We must not only budget as a whole, but each component must be budgeted as a cog in the overall wheel. You do not want to produce too much food which will not be consumed, yet you do not want anyone leaving hungry. So deconstructing the budget to consider how much each person will eat, and then building it back up to purchase this amount of ingredients is the way to go. But there is also the organizing of equipment and tools needed to perform tasks at the event site, as well as gathering together a van for transportation purposes. When you add in scheduling the staff, and of course the most important task of all, preparing the food (2 or 3 days in advance), you have got a level of operation and logistics to contend with where failure is not an option, and meeting time deadlines is critical. But it all begins with planning, and lists are a tremendous benefit as well."
You both also have your brand, Savour This Sauce, how did you come up with creating this line of products?
"Marlene is the creator of the sauces. She has a vision when it comes to combining unusual ingredients that most would perceive as not going together well, and turning them in delicious creations. Michael had the idea to market these sauces which had already been created, and were being used on caterings. Savour This Sauce began in January of 2013 (1 ½ years into the catering business) and has seen tremendous growth since."
What is your most popular sauce? Is this your favorite?
"Our Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Spread has really taken the lead this year. We produce the most of it, of our three sauces, and it sells out most consistently. Though each of our sauces are original, and contain many unqiue attributes, our Romesco is differentiated from so many sauces out there, even other Romescos. Our personal favorite is our Pistachio Mint Pesto because it has very strong notes of mint, which are very refreshing, and give a certain authenticity to sauce because of it. But they are all beloved."
You can buy Savour This Sauce at your local farmer’s markets in Los Angeles and also on the Good Eggs website.. (If you’re not familiar with Good Eggs check out my interview with them here and how their home delievery grocery service works here!)
Written, Interviewed and Photographed by: Kristen Tola Hettich