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Zukali

Tell us about food and your childhood?

My love for cooking and food really didn't develop until I was in my mid-20’s, around the time I got married. Part of it was because I got exposed to great food while I was working at design studios here near Dallas. Vendors would take us out to nice restaurants for lunch or dinner, so I got to try a lot of great places. 

How did you get into making your salsas and deciding to go into business?

Just by making them at home. I started with simple salsas, and then got into more complex ones. I was basically just experimenting. I would always roast jalapeños on the grill and add lime juice and salt, as is very typical in Mexico. Then a close friend of mine brought me a jar of serranos in soy sauce from Mexico. I loved the flavor, but they were a bit salty and too spicy for me. I thought could improve them, so I would roast jalapeños instead of serranos, and serve them with lime juice and soy sauce. Friends and family enjoyed them so much that I thought why not try sell them. I create brands for a living so it was perfect in that it combined both my passion for food and for design.

How's the salsa made?

Well, I decided early on that without experience in the food industry, it was a dangerous proposition to invest in my own facility, so I found a local co-packer to help us. Our peppers come from Monterrey, Mexico. We usually do work in very small batches, maybe 50 cases at a time, here in Plano, Texas.

Biggest challenges?

Many! One big one is simply not having enough time to manage my two businesses because I also own a design studio, which is basically our breadwinner. My time at Zukali is limited. Funding can be stressful, too. It's really a one-man company, with the occasional exception of help from my wife and daughters.

What is your favorite part of owning a business like this?

I love coming up with new unique salsa recipes and I have really loved building a brand from the ground up. 

maker website: zukali.com

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