On this episode of The Foodpreneur, we’re talking a Lebanese classic, Garlic sauce with Peter Chehadeh, founder of GRLK. How a small-town Midwestern foodie is on a quest to bring his grandmother’s recipe of this middle-eastern staple to the mainstream food scene in America.
Visit them @ GRLKSauce.com
Episode 10: GRLK with Peter Chehadeh
Time Stamped Show Notes
- [1:11] — Peter, a Minnesota native, grew up in a traditional Lebanese household where food played a pivotal role in bringing his family together.
- [2:29] — Peter recalls meeting his father’s side family for the first time as a child – his first “food memory.”
- [3:38] — “My life was literally planned around family and meals and that type of atmosphere, so I never really thought that I would be in the food industry.”
- [5:13] — Peter leaves school in Santa Monica and returns back home to Minnesota, deciding to study interior design at the University of Minnesota.
- [6:23] — Peter’s garlic sauce recipe is originally from his grandmother in Lebanon.
- [7:24] — Peter originally very small batches of his sauce to share with his foreign co-workers to get their feedback; if they liked it, then it had to be good.
- [9:37] — Peter’s dad came from an education background, and his mom from a work/education background. Peter’s mom and dad thought that, “education is the key.” They were both supportive of Peter’s business pursuit.
- [11:50] — “I knew that there was some kind of demand for a more flavorful, natural sauce of some sort.”
- [12:42] — Peter talks about how he decided on the name, GRLK.
- [13:27] — Peter uses a commercial kitchen to produce and bottle his sauce. Peter then sells it at local stores and farmer’s markets in the Twin Cities area. Peter describes himself as a “one man show.”
- [14:46] — Peter’s big “ah-ha” moment came at a garlic festival outside of the Twin Cities when he sold out of product of the 75 jars he brought for the 8 hour event in 45 minutes.
- [16:22] — “It kind of expanded ever so slowly… that first year was a slow year.”
- [18:00] — At first, Peter financed his business with his paychecks. Peter bought his supplies on a “need” basis.
- [19:31] — Peter bought garlic from a local wholesaler in small increments to keep his business in motion when things were slow before “farmer’s market season,” in mid-May, 2013.
- [21:34] — Peter speaks about what sets GRLK apart from similar brands.
- [23:19] — “When I first started out nobody knew what garlic sauce was, I would be standing at a farmers market all day long and people wouldn’t come up to me unless I approached them.
- [24:00] — Elan asks, what’s in your garlic sauce? Peter responds, “garlic, non-GMO canola oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and water.”
- [25:07] — Peter takes pride in sourcing his ingredients as locally and naturally as possible.
- [27:23] — “I enjoy what I do, I love the people that I’ve met, and I’ve met some great customers of mine that have become great friends.”