Although Rodrigo and Leticia Salas don’t consider themselves to be “foodies,” you don’t have to hang out with the Lakewood couple for long before it becomes apparent they know a thing or two about food.
The couple recently launched Mölli Sauces, a brand of cooking sauces designed to help amateur and professional chefs alike prepare tasty, flavorful meals in less than 20 minutes.
Originally from Mexico City, the couple met in college, married and then both worked in marketing before eventually moving to Texas. They landed at the University of Texas in Austin to earn their MBAs, hoping to eventually get into general management.
“That’s when our love for cooking started,” Leticia says. “When I got to business school, I had no idea how to cook.”
“When you got married, you didn’t,” Rodrigo cuts in. “She would try to boil water, and she would burn it.”
“Well, yes, that is true,” Leticia admits, laughing.
“And that’s pretty hard to do,” Rodrigo says.
But the change in working in the fast-paced business world to once again being students allowed more time for hobbies. They also discovered the advantages of being in a city with so much diversity, Leticia says. Plus, they had access to ingredients they didn’t have in Mexico.
“So we started experimenting with Chinese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese,” Leticia says. “And believe me, we made some mistakes, but we just experimented for a long time.”
They also joined a group full of food adventurers like themselves, which was comprised of people from all over the world who regularly met to swap tricks of the trade. ‘
After graduation, they both landed jobs with the same company in Dallas. When they had their son, they wanted to cook for him, but who has time for that? So they started brainstorming. How could they simplify their lives and continue cooking from scratch? In the end, the perfect solution seemed to be to combine the two goals.
“One of the concepts that we explored was creating a business that was completely sauce-based,” Leticia says. “It was the need to figure out how you simplify how you cook meals every day, if you have a full-time job, or you have kids and you don’t have a lot of time. How do you create good, complex meals in about 20 minutes?”
So they started gathering original, traditional Mexican recipes and building sauces from there. Using her background in business, Leticia created panels of people to test the sauces and give feedback on how easy they were to use.
“We found some that were very unfriendly and difficult to make, so we erased those from the list,” Leticia says. “We wanted the sauces to be very flexible.”
After months and months of rigorous testing, polling and going back to the drawing board, the Salases found what they were looking for. They launched their startup business, Mölli Sauces, with two sauces, Mexico City and Morelos.
Both are made with a specific variety of chili pepper and a unique blend of all-natural ingredients that provide the same flavors of traditional from-scratch cooking. Each also comes with multiple easy-to-make recipe recommendations, but the Salases have found that many people have come up with various other uses.
They have been selling the sauces at area farmer’s markets, and it’s also available at Rudolph’s Market & Sausage Factory in Deep Ellum and Deep Ellum Postal & Grocer, as well as online at artizone.com, which is a virtual farmer’s market of sorts.
The couple is in the process of developing new cooking sauces and pastes, so watch for progress on their website mollisauces.com.
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