First, I would like to thank my family and my friends for all of their encouragement and support.
I started this whole process about 5 years ago, when I was repeatedly told “you have to bottle this stuff and sell it!” I was working at a local hospital in the therapy department and we loved to eat. We would have a potluck for any occasion. Most of the time I brought in pasta, with my made from scratch sweet tomato sauce. It was a hit. I had people request that I make the sauce for them and they would buy it. So I started making big batches of it, freezing it, and selling it to friends. Then I came up with the idea to learn how to “can” the sauce (since freezing it was kind of a pain). My mom gave me her canning pot and canning tongs and I went to town. I still have the tongs, pot busted about 300 batches ago…
I would bring it in by the case, and it would sell very quickly. So, I got real excited and thought “what else could I put in a jar and sell?” I have always been an entrepreneur…so, one day I got off early and had this idea of making salsa and stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I got the ingredients that I thought would be good together, went home, and started cooking. I wrote everything down (in case it turned out good) and started chopping away. I decided to make the salsa an even consistency (no big chunks), and started mixing all of my fresh ingredients. Then I started playing with the spices and added some that are now unique to this recipe, though seemed odd to some at first. I finished it off with a touch of sweet, and voila, I made the first batch of ChefMel’s gourmet salsa. It is a mixture of sweet and spicy, and of course I had to make different heats…mild, medium, and hot. I have tweaked the recipe a few times, but it is original…all from a thought, as if someone was writing the recipe in my head as I was walking through the store.
I decided to take it a step further and sell my wares at craft shows. My first show was at Parkway West High School. We almost sold out!! It was a success. So we continued to do this for the next few years. We made baskets for gifts, especially around the holidays. Then it seemed it was time to go even further. Unfortunately, I could not “quit my day job” and did not have any start up money. At one point, I thought I would just let it go. But on a vacation in the summer of 2006, I had two very dear friends of mine offer to be investors and fund the start up money. They believed in the product and believed in me. Wow! That got me going again and I worked real hard for the next year getting ready. In the following fall, those friends had some bad news. They had to back out due to their own unexpected obligations. I was crushed. I did not know where to turn. Daughter number 2 was to arrive in late September…but by some absolute miracle, I ended up getting an investor who also believed in me and wanted to see me succeed. Holy cow! This is IT! I got going on the business right away and became “official” in January 2008. I could no longer make the salsa in my kitchen, so I found a fantastic manufacturer who was able to duplicate my recipe. And they could make it in much bigger quantities. I do have to thank those friends…without them making the offer, I may not have gone forward at all.
Now we are ready to go, ready to sell, and ready to make lots of people happy with a delicious gourmet salsa that is very unique and sure to dazzle your taste buds.
In case you were wondering, my pasta sauce is “in the works” and should be ready by Fall 2008.
As you can see, shipping this stuff can be expensive. My suggestion would be to buy more than one jar. That is not a marketing scheme, it is just more cost effective. The shipping increases as you add jars, but as you can see, buying in quantities gives less money to the shipping company and more in your pocket. And as an added bonus, I have a special price on both the salsa and the shipping if you buy by the case. It is great to split with a friend or two, or they make nice gifts alone or in baskets. The choice is absolutely yours, I just wanted to let you know that though I strive to make the salsa affordable, the shipping costs are not in my control.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy ChefMel’s Gourmet Salsa. I welcome comments anytime.