RONAN – It’s where Montana meets Asia on a dinner plate. Missoula’s Mustard Seed restaurant is famous for its flavors and it’s now sharing its Montana Made sauces with the rest of the world.
The sauce that has made diners drool over for almost 40 years is now being produced in the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan including the Osaka sauce from the Mustard Seed Café.
“The recipes came from two sisters that had traveled extensively through Asia,” Mustard Seed Sauce and Dressing CEO Greg Carter said. “They came up with the recipes using Asian influence but for the American pallet.
The idea came so the company could give its consumers the Mustard Seed experience at home.
“It started out we’d sell our sauces at the restaurant in Styrofoam containers and people would take them home,” Carter explained. “We were concerned about [the] quality of the product and the longevity of the product in the Styrofoam. So, we wanted to make a shelf stable product that we could distribute throughout the region.”
The company got off the ground about three years ago and now has ten different sauces in different stores in the region. They’ve even added gluten free options. Last year they sold 50,000 bottles.
“The recipes have been around since 1978. So, the teriyaki sauce you got back in 1978 in the little store is the same teriyaki you’ll get in the restaurant today,” Carter said.
There’s a lot of science that goes into the sauces. Workers are constantly mixing, constantly checking the recipe and the pH balance to make sure each bottle tastes as good as the rest.
The company has also created unique career opportunities for its master mixers.
“I’ve always liked cooking. There’s always something new, always new sauces to learn and I’ve haven’t even done a handful of them yet,” Aaron Thiel, one of the mixers, said.
“I love it. I’ve actually found a career I enjoy working for and they make a product I can actually eat and enjoy,” added fellow mixer Morgan Nixon.
The business is not just about good taste for Carter; it’s about working hard to get the job done, no matter the task, in hopes more people will get all sauced up.
“So many different hats you have to put on when you’re in charge of the operation. So I’ll make it, I’ll sell it, I’ll deliver it, I’ll do the marketing. Right now we’re just a small operation but we’re growing all the time,” Carter added.
He also added that they are getting closer to having Mustard Seed Sauce and Dressing Company products up for sale on Amazon.
MTN’s Jill Valley