Legend has it that my love for all things culinary began before I could walk. My family loves to tell how I would crawl to the old metal step stool, then stand up and push it across the kitchen floor and stop next to mamma who was trying to bake scratch cakes. I’d climb up on the stool and start cracking eggs.
I later would spend a lot of time with my dad while he grilled. We would also go on excursions to our hunting camp where we would try and live off the game we killed. We weren’t great hunters so we had to be creative cooks. Invariably someone would show up with some chicken or ribs and the feedbag was on!
Then fast forward to 1987 and my dad and I built a convenience store with a full-scale deli. I did a lot of research before we bought our deli equipment and when we were done we were selling fried chicken, ribs, hamburgers and fresh vegetables.
In ’93 my dad retired and I started buying old stores and upgrading them also with full-scale delis. We wound up with 4 stores and I set up a commissary at our original location where I could consolidate some of the cooking. I would come in at 4 am and start boiling 4 bushels of green peanuts in our Army surplus double boiler. Then I’d marinate several cases of chicken and ribs. When that process was done I’d put them in the smoker.
After that, it would be around 7 am and I’d go to the office and start my desk job.
At 10 am I’d go back to the commissary, load all my cooked meat and peanuts into coolers and deliver to the stores. Our stores were called the Gas and Grill and our sales were steadily climbing.
For the next 20 years, I worked on different recipes using different sauces. I came across a recipe I thought was delicious, but it was hard to make and expensive, so I never used it commercially. All the while I continued to piddle with it changing ingredients, specifications, and amounts. I wound up locking the recipe in my safe and forgot about it.
In 2007 I had a chance to sell out and even though I wouldn’t make any money on the sale, I’d be able to pay off 3.5 Million in debt. Through the years I had bought and sold real estate, always putting my profit back into more real estate. That was my retirement. I remember my attorney slapped me on the back after the sale and said, “you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”
Six months later the real estate market crashed and I’ve been working my butt off ever since.
I wound up at an environmental company as a petroleum cleanup specialist. One year I took my homemade sauce to our Christmas party. My boss George liked it so much he had me make a batch to give to our customers. After that George convinced me to let him be a partner in a sauce company. I had the recipe, loads of food sales experience and he had the money.
I continued with my day job for another year while researching the condiment industry and getting our ducks in a row for our upstart sauce company. The bad news came in 2012, the rules that the state of Florida used for environmental work changed and eliminated my job and nearly put George out of business.
So here I was, out of work, unskilled, and flat broke! All I had was a sauce recipe and a wife and family who loved me. I decided to take a leap of faith and continue with the dream of bringing a product to market that not only tasted great, but was made of all natural ingredients.
It’s definitely been a challenge from day one and on many occasions, it looked like we would not make it. But I never considered giving up and it seemed as though something would happen and we’d get the boost we needed at a critical time. Prayers were obviously answered!
One of our biggest challenges was to come up with a name. Everyone agreed it was a fantastic sauce, but no one could peg a proper name. My wife and I got into a somewhat “tense” discussion over a couple of names, and she looked at me with a somewhat “stern” look and said, “well just don’t name it then!” I said, “That’s It. No Name!” And our slogan will be “Sauce so good it needs No Name.” “It’s the one name you can’t forget,” and the rest is history.