Culture

This Entrepreneur Worked For Years To Sell Her Authentic Mexican Sauces To The World And It Paid Off

In 2013, Lori Sandoval found herself in a tough predicament where she had to figure out what to do with her career. Fresh out of college and with plans to go to culinary school, she knew a career in food was part of her future. So she decided to pursue her passion and start a business around salsa where she could connect her Latina culture and background in cooking. Five years later, Sandoval is the proud owner of Salsaology, a line of all-natural and non-GMO cooking sauces inspired by regional Mexican flavors. The salsas reflect Sandoval’s desire to change the narrative on how Mexican products are viewed.

When Lori Sandoval first started making her salsa, she knew that she was on to something special.

credit: Salsaology

Sandoval knew that if she put her background and experience into the salsas, she’d do great things with it. So she began showcasing her salsas at farmer markets. It wasn’t long until she realized this could be something bigger than a farmers market booth. She met a Whole Foods Market buyer who told Sandoval that if she could get the salsa mass produced they would carry her product in a few stores.

“I thought it would be easy to just start making them from home and go from there but I didn’t know there was so many guidelines and food standards to sell at Whole Foods,” Sandoval says. “That’s when I started looking for a manufacturer to help.”

Finding a manufacturer became one of Sandoval’s biggest challenges because of her ingredients.

She was denied by countless manufacturers that simply didn’t grasp what her product was truly about. Despite the passion she had and the success of the salsas, manufactures just didn’t understand it.

Manufacturers didn’t understand why her salsas had so many ingredients let alone their significance.

credit: Salsaology

“They didn’t get it. They couldn’t understand that a salsa could have so many ingredients,” Sandoval says. “Everyone kept saying no and telling me you’re never going to sell $12 salsa.”

Sandoval says she kept having to explain to people the importance of her product and reminding them that salsa is more than just something you dip your chips in. She recalls constantly hearing stereotypical comments about Mexican food and manufacturers turning her away.

“I found myself having to defend my product and explaining that salsa means sauce.” Sandoval says.

After a year of getting her business shot down she finally got a yes from a manufacturer. However, there was one caveat — she had to get the ingredients herself. Sandoval agreed to the terms and would soon find herself driving through Los Angeles at the crack of dawn picking up ingredients in her SUV. She recalls the long mornings going from warehouse to warehouse getting pallets of cilantro and hibiscus and packing them in her car.

“That period in my life taught me a lot not only about food and how to start a business but about myself,” Sandoval says. “I did that for a year and knew this was what I needed to do.”

Today, Salsaology is sold across the country and has won multiple awards for it’s taste.

credit: Salsaology

By 2015, Sandoval’s vision was starting to take shape as Salsaology was getting picked up in over 250 markets across the country. Her vision of starting a business that was true to her background and culture was becoming a reality.

“When I saw the sauces at Whole Foods it was years of work come true,” Sandoval says. “I always wanted to create something that was part of me and there it was. I couldn’t believe it.”

Today, Salsaology is an award-winning sauce that has been sold across the U.S. and as far as Paris. Her line of sauces has grown to four including a seasonal pumpkin sauce with plans to eventually lower costs on her products. Sandoval credits those tough days jump starting her business as a reminder of where things are today.

“I wanted to create something you would find in Mexico but make it so you could experience it in your own home,” Sandoval says. “I feel that by making these sauces I’m taking back our food and re-creating what it really means to be authentic.”


READ: Here’s What These Top Mexican Chefs Have To Say About The Future Of Mexican Food In The US

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Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Culture

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

I guarantee that since Beyonce’s hit anthem ‘Formation’ hit the airwaves, we’ve all been wanting to channel our inner Bey and carry some hot sauce in our bags. But which one would you choose?  

Whether you prefer sweet and sour, ranch, spicy, or mild, when it comes to options, the possibilities are endless!

A sauce’s beauty is that every country has its famous creation that usually accompanies their traditional dishes. Every Latin American country has its mouth-watering sauce that was created using recipes passed down from ancestors.

AJILIMOJILI

In Puerto Rico, this sauce is quite popular because of its ají dulce flavor – a mix of sweet and sour notes. The green salsa is the Caribbean’s version of hot sauce and is added to recipes, such as seafood and boiled vegetables.

VALENTINA

Few of us don’t know about the magic that is Valentina. Pour that sauce all over your papas, pizza, jicama, elotes, and so much more. And it’s great because it’s available in a variety of heat levels so everyone can enjoy. 

TIÁ LUPITA HABANERO SAUCE

This Habanero Hot Sauce is an original family recipe of the brand and combines just the right amount of heat with each fruit’s natural sweetness. It is handmade in small batches, using only habanero peppers, dates, mangos, and spices. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.

The sauce can be used as a condiment with breakfast burritos, eggs, sandwiches, tacos, pulled pork, steak, chicken, fish, quesadillas, and more.

CHIMICHURRI

Chimichurri is mostly tied to Argentina, even though other countries also serve the herb-based salsa. To achieve the perfect chimichurri, mix parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Pair with meat cuts like churrasco and watch the magic happen.

CHIRMOL

In Central America, chismol or chirmol is made of tomatoes, onion, peppers and other ingredients. It’s similar to pico de gallo and is used in a variety of dishes.

RICANTE

Sauce, dressing, dip, marinade… Ricante does it all and with no sugar or salt added and with just the right amount of approachable spice. Ricante is not only Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Keto Friendly, but tiá approved!

Ricante launched with five incredibly unique hot sauces, marrying non-traditional essences like apples, mangos, carrots, and habaneros.

SALSA ROSA

Pastas are enjoyed all across Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, which pair the dishes with salsa rosa, a tomato-based sauce mixed with heavy cream. Together, they create a pink paste that blankets a variety of pasta dishes.

TACTICAL TACOS

Wait, so not all taco bases are citrus?! Tactical Tacos knows how to do taco sauce right with their notes of orange, lime, and cilantro to start your bite out just right, followed up with a perfect hint of Jalapeno and Cayenne pepper in the background. That’s just their mild sauce, Snafu. The Fire Fight and Ghost Protocol give you a similar ride with the citrus kick but with a much bigger spice hit for those that are brave enough to try it out!

MOLE

Mole is a spicy-and-sweet sauce made from chocolate that translates. The dark brown sauce gets its heat from chiles, but also has a touch of sweetness from the cacao, almonds, and peanuts often added. The sauce is topped with sesame seeds.

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Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Entertainment

Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Photo via Getty Images

Johnny Pacheco–the trailblazing musician, record executive and bandleader–passed away on Monday. He was 85.

In his life, Johnny Pacheco was known as the “Godfather of Salsa” due both popularizing the term as well as co-founding Fania Records, which came to be known as the Motown of Salsa music.

Yes, he was known for being a brilliant artist in his own right (Pacheco played the flute and the saxophone along with countless other instruments), but he was most famous for his role as star-maker.

Fania Records was famous for it supergroup, the Fania Allstars, that had a revolving lineup of talented musicians like Tito Puente, Héctor Lavoe, and of course, Celia Cruz.

Pacheco’s continuous collaborations with Celia Cruz is one of his greatest legacies. He first teamed up with Cruz in 1974, for their successful album Celia & Johnny–which certified Gold. Together, Pacheco and Cruz released over 10 albums.

You could say that music ran in Johnny Pacheco’s blood. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in 1935, the Pachecos were a musical family. Johnny’s father, Rafael Azarías Pacheco, was a successful clarinetist and big band leader.

When Johnny was 11, his family left the Dominican Republic and fled to the U.S. to escape the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo. The Pachecos relocated to the Bronx, where Johnny’s love for Afro-Cuban music like charanga and pachanga truly blossomed.

After studying percussion at Julliard, Pacheco began to focus all of his attention on a new exciting genre that was sweeping New York City: salsa. Salsa was named such because it reminded listeners of sauce–it was spicy.

Pacheco co-founded Fania Records with his business partner, a laywer named Jerry Masucci. It was through Fania that Pacheco discovered numerous Latin artists and helped solidify salsa as a genre that was here to stay–forever.

Later in his life, Pacheco received innumerable awards and honors for his cultural contributions. Not only was he a 9-time Grammy nominee with 10 gold records, but he was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

On Monday, Fania records released a statement that recognized Pacheco as “more than a musician, bandleader, writer, arranger and producer” but as “a visionary”. “His music will live on eternally,” they wrote. “And we are forever grateful to have been a part of his wonderful journey.”

He is survived by his wife, Maria “Cuqui” Elena Pacheco, and his four children, Norma, Joanne, Elis and Phillip

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