Apr 07, 2014 8 Questions With: SOSU Sauces
“Aged in whiskey barrels for a unique, fruity, spicy, and smoky flavor. You’ve never tasted Sriracha quite like this before.”
Meet Lisa Murphy – Chief Sauce Maker (how awesome is that title?!) of SOSU Sauces. It all started with a good ol’ challenge in San Francisco. A friend had brought over some truffle mustard from France, which turned out to be amazing and made the group desire a ketchup that could complement it just as well. “Can you make a better ketchup?” her friend asked. Needless to say, Lisa rose to the challenge and combined farm fresh tomatoes, Sriracha, and lemongrass to create Srirachup. After being named a Good Foods finalist in 2013, Lisa set her eyes on her next big hit: Barrel-aged Sriracha. (As a whiskey lover, this sounded like heaven. DROOL)
Launching on Kickstarter to secure some funding, SOSU easily beat out their goal of $20,000 by more than five times to $104,000. Getting covered by several mainstream publications, such as VICE, Cool Hunting, and Chow.com, you know when they’re absolutely LEGIT when San Francisco Magazine says their sauce just simply “hurts so good.” Best of luck to SOSU sauces and thanks for the insight!
1. What are you working on?
I am currently running a Kickstarter project to launch our newest sauce to the market- Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sriracha.
UPDATE: Funded as of March 8th.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I grew up in Shanghai, China where there are an abundance of fresh produce, meats and seafood at the local wet markets. When I came to the U.S. I spent a lot of time with my aunt in the kitchen learning how she made traditional Shanghainese dishes. She encouraged me to experiment with flavors and not be afraid of trying new combinations. These two influences shaped my foundation for my sauce flavors – sticking with fresh ingredients, but playing around with bold flavors.
Last year, after I quit my job at a high-tech start-up, I spent 3 months in Southeast Asia, traveling and trying new sauces to bring back those flavors. I got to try a few varieties of sriracha sauce in different countries and was surprised to see how each country had their own take and flavors for the sriracha sauce. That inspired me to make my own sriracha sauce with the flavors I enjoy.
3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
I always wanted to have my own coffee shop. I liked the atmosphere of a coffee shop and how people in the community can gather at one location to strike up a good conversation.
4. What are you reading at the moment?
Ben and Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop, Cooked by Michael Pollan.
5. How do you describe your job?
There’s no one description of my job. I am the Chief Sauce Maker, the delivery boy, the accountant, the owner, the sales and marketing rep, basically I get to be every role of my company. Everyday, I am learning and making mistakes.
6. What does your work day look like?
Everyday is different. For example today, I am doing follow-ups for the Kickstarter campaign, meeting up with another entrepreneur, making deliveries to the post office, and organizing details with another local food company about a collaborative event we are doing for their mac&cheese and our sriracha.
7. What’s your favorite post-work destination?
Swimming pool, that’s what I am going to try to do later today. A good way for me to rewind the day.
8. Why sauce and the food business?
My mom used to ask me this everyday, why give up your career in high-tech and start your own ketchup and sauce company? “Isn’t it going backwards?” I can understand where she comes from, but I have a different mindset. I see an opportunity in sauces because there are too many that are made with low-margin ingredients and things like paste and high fructose corn syrup. As companies are trying to decrease the cost of their ingredients and increase the size, I am going in reverse, because I believe in a quality sauce that’s made with fresh ingredients. I do a lot of cooking at home and always believed that a good sauce can make any dish great.