The Sauce Queen’s Tips For Successfully Running a Business Featuring Maria Covarrubias, Cien Chiles
Is your mission to offer the world sustainable, healthy, and delicious meals — and run a successful business at the same time?
Maria Covarrubias, “the sauce queen,” has learned many lessons throughout her career as a successful entrepreneur. Now, she is sharing her insights to help others achieve their goals, eat better, and live a healthy life. To be successful, Maria says entrepreneurs need to have mentors, stop chasing too many opportunities at once, know the ins and outs of the business they want to create, and much more. Achieving success is easier if you learn from entrepreneurs that have already made it.
In this episode of the Gooder Podcast, host Diana Fryc is joined by Maria Covarrubias, the Co-founder and Culinary Expert at Cien Chiles, to discuss her entrepreneurial journey as “the sauce queen.” Maria shares the inspirations behind her sauce ideas, the importance of having mentors in any venture of your life, and her advice to entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators.
In this episode we learn:
- Maria Covarrubias talks about Cien Chiles and the inspiration behind it
- How is Cien Chiles different from other related brands in the market?
- Maria explains why she earned the title “the sauce queen” and what inspires her sauce ideas
- How Maria discovered that she’s an entrepreneur
- Maria’s proudest moments in her career
- Maria talks about her mentors in her entrepreneurial journey
- The pros and cons of working with a spouse
- Advice to entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators
- What’s next for Cien Chiles?
- Maria gives a shout-out to women entrepreneurs she admires
- A top trend that Maria is watching: bubbling water
About Maria Covarrubias
Maria Covarrubias is the Co-founder and Culinary Expert at Cien Chiles, a company that creates sustainable, healthy, and delicious hot sauces that make meals better while making the world a better place to cook them. Maria is an experienced culinary developer with a demonstrated history in the food and beverage industry. She also works at Chosen Foods as a Corporate Culinary Specialist. Previously, Maria worked as a professionally trained chef under Thomas Keller’s Restaurant Group, both in Napa Valley and New York City.
Maria has been inspired by the flavors, taste, and power of food from a very young age. She finds joy in cooking for her daughter, friends, and family and showcasing fresh ingredients in every meal. For Maria, sourcing fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients is a priority for everything.
Guests Social Media Links:
LinkedIn Maria Covarrubias : https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-covarrubias-28a32522/
Website : https://cienchiles.com/
- Maria Covarrubias on LinkedIn
- Cien Chiles
- Chosen Foods
- CPG Founders
- Philip Gorman on LinkedIn
- Cali Bagels
- Kirsten Helle Sandoval on LinkedIn
- Mesa de Vida
- Diana Fryc on LinkedIn
- Retail Voodoo
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo.
Retail Voodoo has been building beloved and dominant brands in the food, wellness, beverage, and fitness CPG industries for over 30 years. They’ve served multinational companies like PepsiCo. and Starbucks, startups like High Key, and everything in between.
Their proven process guides hundreds of mission-driven consumer brands to attract a broad and passionate fan base, crush their categories through growth and innovation, and magnify their social and environmental impact.
So, if you are ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy that gives your brand an advantage, Retail Voodoo is here to help.
Visit retail-voodoo.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Welcome to the Gooder Podcast where we talk with powerhouse women in CPG about their journeys to success. This episode is sponsored by Retail Voodoo, a brand development firm guiding mission-driven consumer brands to attract new and passionate consumer-base crush their categories through growth and innovation and magnify their social and environmental impact. If your brand is in need of brand positioning, package design or marketing activation, we are here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com.
Diana Fryc 0:43
Hi, Diana Fryc here, I’m the host of the Gooder Podcast where I get to talk with a powerhouse women in the food, beverage and wellness categories about their journeys to success and their insights in the industry. This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo, a brand development firm. Our clients include Starbucks, Kind, Rei, PepsiCo, Highkey, and many other market leaders. We provide strategic brand and design services for brands in the food, beverage, wellness and fitness industries. So if your goal is to increase market share, drive growth or disrupt the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call and let’s talk. If you want to find out a little bit more you can find more information at retail-voodoo.com. Now, before we start our episode, I would like to send out a huge thank you to Philip Gorman, founder of Cali Bagels and CPG Founders for making this introduction to today’s guests happen. CPG Founders is a networking organization for early-stage consumer product goods founders designed to build a support network during those early stages of growth. If you’re interested in learning more about this network and organization, check them out at CPGfounders.com. Okay, the good part here right today. We get to meet Miss Chef Maria Covarrubias. Did I get it right?
Maria Covarrubias 2:12
Diana Fryc 2:13
Oh, no, I lost the V. Let’s try that again. Meet Chef Maria Covarrubias, creator and founder of Cien Chiles. Forgive me. Okay, Chef Maria has been inspired by the flavors, taste, and power of food from a very young age. What brings chef Maria joy is cooking for her daughter, friends and family by showcasing fresh ingredients in every meal. As a professionally trained chef, Maria worked under Thomas Keller’s Restaurant Group for over three years, both in Napa Valley and New York City. She’s taken those skills into the CPG industry growing as a professional and entrepreneur. She sources fresh, local and seasonal ingredients as a priority to everything. Well, hello, Maria, how are you today?
Maria Covarrubias 3:04
I’m very, very good, Diana. Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be part of your show.
Diana Fryc 3:11
Thank you and where are you today?
Maria Covarrubias 3:15
I am in San Diego, California. That’s where we live here and a little piece of paradise. I was talking to friends yesterday and how grateful I am to be living here. And it’s really where people vacation. We live where people vacation.
Diana Fryc 3:32
That’s pretty great. Yes. And you were at EXPO right?
Maria Covarrubias 3:40
Yes, I was. I attended Expo representing Chosen Foods. Yes, it’s a brand that I’ve been working with for a few years now. And it was great. It was a great outcome. We got to meet a few different retail buyers and I always feed people at EXPO. So we’re pretty popular for having the real food at EXPO.
Diana Fryc 4:07
How did I miss the booth? Next time. If you’re going to Expo East, you’re first on my list, you’re first on my list. Yeah it was really nuts. It was super fun for us. It was so great to see so many people again in person. It was a little bit weird because I felt so bad for the EXPO managers because they were trying to over the intercom and signs remind people to wear masks and nobody was wearing masks or very few people were wearing masks. I think the people in the booth were but those of us who wore. Yeah, it’s hard to have conversations when you can’t see half a person’s face and it’s so loud.
Maria Covarrubias 4:51
It is hard. It is hard and I get it you know but I mean safety first and I’m happy they had some reinforcing went on negative PCR test and all that.
Diana Fryc 5:03
Yes. That was great. Well, let’s talk about this brand here that I just learned about recently. I love it when brand owners tell us about their brand. Cien Chiles, why don’t you tell us a little bit about it and why it exists?
Maria Covarrubias 5:22
Absolutely. So, since a very young age, I’ve always loved the idea of being a businesswoman, a business kid. So I always had that bone in me of selling stuff to people and getting out there, I was that kind of kid that would go to birthday parties, and the following week, I would have a stand outside my house selling the candy from the party. So I’ve always loved the interaction of selling things, and especially making impact in other people’s. Of course, when you start growing up and identifying needs in your community, then, of course, everything becomes easier. So I became a chef right after finishing my degree in nutrition. So I went to school down in Mexico in Guadalajara, that’s where I grew up, up until I was 25 years old. I didn’t really want to finish my degree. I told my mom halfway through, I’m like, “Mother, you know what, this is not for me. I really want to become a chef.” And my mom’s like, “Listen, lady, you need to finish your degree. And after you finish your degree, you can go make your hobby, a special thing.
Diana Fryc 6:49
Yes. That’s hilarious.
Maria Covarrubias 6:51
And mind you of course, I jumped from beauty school to med school to nutrition. So my mom’s like, no, no, no, you finish your degree. So thanks to that, I was able to complete a program at the Institute of America, the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. That was basically meant for people with a degree in hospitality or food science or nutrition. So it was actually like, tailor-made for us professionals to be part of this group. So it was a short program, it was about a year. And after staying in the valley, and moved to New York to be part of the restaurant industry, I moved back to San Diego and started working in innovation with Chosen Foods. And since I’ve always had that thing in me of selling everything I could, so I baked a lot in high school and through my career, I was selling baked goods, and then I had a popsicle business. So all the things that had to do with food and selling. So it was a beautiful fit for me to bring my expertise to Chosen Foods and I developed probably more than 20 products for the brand. And it was an amazing learning journey, of course, because it’s different selling a small batch of something, then selling massive amounts of them. So of course, I learned so much in this journey with them. And a little bit before the pandemic, I decided to step away from innovation and do more. More of a PR relator like marketing doing recipe development, all those things. And then the pandemic hit. And my husband lost his business. So it was that kind of like deal breaker of like, wow, we need to move out of our apartment and move into my mother’s house and it was like we need to survive here. So what are we going to do? And of course, for me, it was an automatic fix to jump into developing something for us to sell. So that’s how Cien Chiles started. And it was something so beautiful because it came so natural to me to share my passion in a bottle and of course, it’s been so very well received. We started basically in my mom’s garage. So we started making sauces in a local commercial kitchen, and my husband would hand label and he’d gone every single temper band on the bottles. So until the demand started growing after six months, and we started knocking on some retailers doors, local stores that have supported us ever since the beginning and then went into bigger production runs. But yeah, it’s been amazing to watch this brand grow and more and more people fall in love with adding flavor to their life because that’s what I’m all about. You have sauces coming to you Diana.
Diana Fryc 6:51
Maria Covarrubias 6:52
Yes, of course. Sorry. I couldn’t make it to you before today.
Diana Fryc 9:26
That’s okay. Well, talk a little bit about Cien Chiles like, what is it? Why is it different than what’s on the market right now?
Maria Covarrubias 10:50
So Cien Chiles, it’s a line of hot sauces or sauces. We call them honest fixins, because we’re a clean label company that we’re not shy to share what’s in our bottles. So not only magic happen, but ingredients that you are used to using on home tomatoes, garlic, onion, lemon juice, all things that you probably have in your refrigerator, but in a very convenient matter of a bottle. So Cien Chiles is becoming more a brand that people identify or it’s like a staple in people’s homes now, in the dinner table. We received so many comments like, I can’t have a meal without Cien Chiles now. So it is awesome to hear these kind of comments and feedback from people that these sauces have now become a part of their lives of their daily life. So Cien Chiles is not a typical hot sauce, I would say. It’s not vinegar for word. So we have three sauces, habanero, jalapeno and Thai bird which is like a very spicy tiny mighty pepper. And affordable Mustard Seed. Yeah. Which is very unique. And it’s been doing really well in different retailers. Because of it. I call it the vegan caviar. It’s crunchy, oh my gosh, can’t wait for you to experience it. Yeah, and the habanero, I was able to make some magic there and it is pretty friendly. You can really appreciate the fruitiness. Okay, the pepper without having that like intense heat. So, yeah, the jalapeno everyone’s obsessed with, it is citrusy and spicy. It’s got a good kick and it’s fresh and creamy. And they’re Thai bird, well, if you can handle the heat, it is amazing. So start with a few dollops if you don’t do a lot of heat and then you’ll fall in love.
Diana Fryc 13:12
Okay, well so when we were preparing for this call, you did say something about, I don’t know if you gave yourself this title or if somebody else gave you this title as the sauce queen.
Maria Covarrubias 13:26
Yes, I’ll elaborate on that. Yes, so I’ve been the sauce queen since probably my teen years. It literally was famous for doing this concoction of like, lime juice and like worship Destrier sauce and all a mix of like hot sauce. And I would bring the mix to school and we would pour it in our chips in our lunches. So yeah, I’ve always been a saucy person.
Diana Fryc 14:03
Saucy, maybe in more than one way.
Maria Covarrubias 14:07
More than one way. So, of course, it made sense for me to have a sauce line than a number of people to enjoy food.
Diana Fryc 14:20
Yes. I love that. So I’m curious, you’re at home with your husband, it’s the middle of COVID, you’re creator obviously. And was it sauces because you’re the sauce queen or was the idea of sauces inspired by something else?
Maria Covarrubias 14:50
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that like sauce or salsa is something that is always in my fridge. So growing up, especially my husband would make fun of me every single time because he’s like you Mexicans just eat tortillas salsa and cheese or tortillas salsa and eggs and every single meal. So if it’s like, oh, I made enchiladas, it’s tortillas, cheese, chicken and salsa. And then chilaquiles, oh, it’s tortillas, salsa, cheese. Of course, to me, it was very natural to share my sauce recipe. And, again, have that being out in the world and bottle it. So the mustard seed is something that I tried, probably when I was in culinary school. It’s almost like pickled mustard seeds. Perfectionist, got a little bit of sugar in that bitterness from a mustard. So if you’re a foodie, and you’re a fan of mustard, this is going to change your life.
Diana Fryc 16:06
Okay. I’m excited to share. I’m excited to try that one myself. So when you’re looking back now, you’ve got a fun background, prior to you’ve got before you’ve come to here. Was there any moment in time where you knew, like maybe even early on? I think entrepreneurs know that they’re entrepreneurs at an early age, like you said, but they don’t really know how to activate it against it unless they have family members that are also entrepreneurs. Were there times where you felt like you were headed in the like, was there a moment in time where maybe you were with Thomas Keller, and you just felt like this is it? This is it? Or were you uncertain during those Thomas Keller days, as well, as you were going through because you went through a couple of different types of jobs before you, types of careers, I should say before you got here?
Maria Covarrubias 17:11
So like I said, I’ve always had that entrepreneurial heart in me. So before moving to Napa, that’s when I had my popsicle business while I was in school. Everything has happened while I’m doing something else. So it was weekends, like, bringing projects and homework to the business because somebody had to be there. But being part of Thomas Keller like, almost like my dream job, or something I want to have when I grow up, it’s a small cooking school. I’m very passionate of teaching people to get involved in the kitchen, from little kids to grandma’s that want to learn how to bake a mean cookie. So that was my goal going into work with Thomas Keller and doing catering business, like involved in catering through my journey. So I always love finding opportunity to learn and to grow as a professional everywhere I go. So every job, every experience that I’ve had, so far has given me the tools to be where I am today. So even of course, like working with Chosen Foods, because of course I had to keep my job my nine to five job through the pandemic to make it through. So I’m still with them. And I’m very grateful and appreciative of their support that during night times and weekends, I was doing a side hustle, stay afloat. So all the learnings that I’ve had so far, have given me the tools to be where I am.
Diana Fryc 19:04
I love it. What are you proud of? Like, I don’t know that you have a single one. But is there one or two moments that you think back and go, yeah, I’m really grateful that that happened?
Maria Covarrubias 19:17
There is, there is a very pivotal moment in my career, in my current job at Chosen where I identified when the opportunity or where what I was doing was no longer serving a purpose to me. And I feel that it’s very important to identify that in your life. When you have something that you’ve been doing for a few years or a few months that you start learning that it’s not a good fit for you and just pivot. I feel that that was a pivotal moment for me where it wasn’t feeling right at the job that I was doing. So that’s when I decided to change teams and pivot to keep my mental health, and to just, I don’t know, give things a little bit of a turn. So I’m very grateful for that moment, it was working with people in the industry where sometimes it’s like your word against mine, and this and that, and it was like a power game. And I was like, I’m not into that, I’m all about developing each other and lifting each other up. So it came a point where the boss I had at that time was like, it was not connecting with me. So I am very grateful for that moment, because if it wasn’t for that, then things would have taken a different course or God knows, but I feel it’s super important when you’re at a professional stage where, you know something is not helping you, then you move away. And it’s valid to do that, and it takes guts, and it’s scary. But you got to do what you got to do.
Diana Fryc 21:19
Yes. Well, let’s talk a little bit about mentorship. You say you like to mentor people, but let’s talk about who have been maybe your biggest mentors through this process of building your own company.
Maria Covarrubias 21:39
Mentorship, so I feel like I said before, there is people wanting or like offering mentorship in your life, you just have to be aware and open to listening. So, I had one of my friends who really pushed me to be like, do it, heck with it. It is what you got to do. And she’s been an amazing boss to me. And she’s been part of this emotional rollercoaster too, of making it happen and doing it through the pandemic. She’s been a great mentor for me, not only professionally, but emotionally as well, which has been an amazing combo. I’ve learned a lot from, I had a chef I really looked up to. He was my boss when I was doing catering for the CIA for the Culinary Institute. He had this kind of like a peaceful pays to him where there was so much to do. But chef never lost it ever. He was one probably the single boss that I wasn’t ever yelled at from, or I don’t know if that sentence made sense.
Diana Fryc 23:01
Yeah, totally made sense.
Maria Covarrubias 23:02
So, he always kept a peaceful kitchen. And if you screwed up on something, he was like, “Okay, get rid of it, let’s fix it, make it again. We’ll serve it the following day instead of today.” There was always this flow about him that I tried to take in my life, or I think I do a pretty good job doing it. I was at Expo, and one of the salespeople was like, Maria, I don’t know how you do it. Like there’s a rush of things and blah, blah, blah, and like, all these years, so in your game, and so peaceful and making it happen without being frantic or like roster. I’m just trying to keep their chill and be aware of your surroundings. There’s obviously been another like a couple people, of course, everybody starts popping up in my brain, but that have supported my journey in launching my business, and that’s been a huge part of, of the success of this company, of course, and Philippe, my husband, he’s been manning up the business basically, in the backend. I show up, I’m the pretty beautiful face and he’s doing all the backend work. So having him running the company behind my back.
Diana Fryc 24:36
Very important, though. I mean, when you are the creator, you’re the big idea, you’re the inspiration. And then somebody has to be the front of the brand, the front of the company, and somebody has to be running the back of house, right? Like if we’re to use a restaurant term, somebody’s got to be in the back running the operations otherwise it doesn’t matter what you are doing out front. So it makes sense and how powerful and wonderful it is that the two of you can do this together because husband and wife teams are special. And they’re also quite, what’s the word I want to look for? They can be quite excitable, too, right? Because you’re running off of the same set of emotions, right?
Maria Covarrubias 25:25
Yeah, it’s definitely been a challenge. Not going to lie. And of course, and on top of it with a pandemic. So, emotions were high, but we’re making it happen. And that’s really just watching how organized he has everything. And he doesn’t miss a little, like the littlest thing. He’s on top of every single thing. And it is amazing to watch. I’m always learning from him on how to do the same, of course, and it’s awesome to have that teamwork with him. Because of course, like you said, I’m the creative, explosive person. And he’s the more like, nope, is like, how much money is that going to cost? Like, all these? He’s asking all those questions and he does all the accounting, we don’t have to source. Like, we don’t have to pay anybody to do our accounting or the billing, whatever it is, he’s saved us so much money. And of course, that has helped us to make it out there because you need money to make money.
Diana Fryc 26:34
Well, so let’s flip the question around then, what advice do you give? Do you like to give entrepreneurs or creators or innovators when they come to you, and they say, “Chef, Maria, I want to do blank.” What do you find yourself frequently sharing with people?
Maria Covarrubias 26:56
My first thing or one of the things that I love sharing with people is, like, how, not only how feasible it is for you to go from point A to point B, because there’s going to be a lot of hurdles along the way. And it is, unfortunately, you need money. So, if you’re wanting to grow, go into 50 retailers to start, we’ll start with 10. And for us, this business model to start small, and have a firm step, each step of the way has been a game-changer, because we don’t bite more than we can chew as a quote says. And it is so true. And then you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re doing otherwise. My advice to founders and creators of anything, really, and I’ve had probably six people approach me, like, how are you doing it? We’re doing it all in-house, which is a crazy thing. And meeting with Phil in the CPG Founders, it’s so refreshing to see how people are in the same path as you are. I’m never jealous of, people are like, “Oh, do you talk to that other like, sauce owner?” I’m like, “Yeah, of course, there’s room for everybody in the shelf.” And in Spanish, there’s a quote that says ‘[Spanish]’ which means that the genre of things will break with people’s preference on whatever. So there’s room for everybody because we’re also broadly together, like, in food, in beauty, in any industry. Maybe some people are allergic to tomatoes, so they don’t do hot sauce with tomatoes they do with vinegar and chiles. So there’s always room for everybody to shine. And I’m never want to say like, oh, I won’t share who’s manufacturing or who I am like, it’s the other way around. I love sharing with people like oh my gosh, I’ve used them and it worked out or I’ve used this person and didn’t work out for me, but maybe it would work for you. Just having that openness with people and being honest and sincere about what your experience has been, that’s the best. I think that’s the best advice you can give to someone, to be open about how your experience has been.
Diana Fryc 29:59
Wow I agree. I think that’s, my business partner and I, our firm is on the smaller side by choice. We have a business model where we don’t want to create a machine that requires us to make decisions that we don’t want to make in order to keep the business afloat, so to speak. And we frequently talk about actually, he my business partner will frequently tell me, “Diana, there’s room for all agencies.” Because I myself I’m very competitive girl, so he’s usually the one that’s talking me down kind of going, “No, look, there’s brands everywhere. Everybody needs help.” So you have a better view of business than I do. One day when I grow up, I hope to be able, a little bit more that way. But I think that’s pretty great that you guys can see the business in the market that way.
Maria Covarrubias 31:03
Yes, it starts today, my friends. It’s only day by day, day by day.
Diana Fryc 31:09
Really is. Well, let’s talk about what’s next for you and Cien Chiles.
Maria Covarrubias 31:16
So as of right now, we made it into Whole Foods in our region. So that’s been very exciting to watch. We have Whole Foods locally. And just to walk in there and just see my sauces there, like, so surreal, like, oh my gosh, like pinch me, please. So that was our first big step this year, of course, it’s been many, many months of back and forth and sampling and this and that and forms and we’re thrilled to be there. For Cien Chiles or the vision I have for us this year, is to really grow in our community and grow in a sustainable way for us to keep making it out there. So, of course, people come ask me like, oh, my gosh, when are you going to be in the East Coast and this and that, and I have like this retail will be amazing for you. And for me right now is to deliver on where we are, like, concentrate our energy to not disappoint where we are right now. So growing that business in again, like strong footsteps moving forward is very important to us. So not go crazy and be like, yes, we’re going to be global here and da, da, da, like, no, like, how much can we grow right now? This is it. Again, check your energy and see, okay, how much we’re going to spend in here and here, and really, like if you have orders coming in, then you need to fulfill those. Just have a steady pace, steady pace and a good flow because if you don’t, then you probably run yourself out of business. Keeping that amazing quality and taste because at the end of the day, that’s what consumers are looking for, something that they identify with, and they can add into every meal. So yeah, that’s our goal for Cien Chiles this year. And hopefully this year, I am able to have enough dollars in Cien Chiles so I can walk away. But we’ll see. It looks very glamorous to be in Whole Foods, but it’s a big investment. As many founders would agree with me. Yeah, it looks very glamorous, but it’s big money to get in there and get your foot in the door. So if you’re looking into going into Whole Foods, be prepared for that. Be prepared to not get your cheque back as you imagine because all the bill bags and the distributers. It is a wild ride.
Diana Fryc 34:28
Yeah, pricing strategy when you’re early stage is tricky. Just kind of like when you get your first paycheck. I remember when I got my first paycheck as a kid and like who’s FICA?
Maria Covarrubias 34:46
I’m writing all these people. Why are they taking my money?
Diana Fryc 34:49
Taking my money, I earn that. Yeah, I get it. I understand it. Oh my goodness, Chef Maria, I’m really enjoying our conversation. Our time is getting to an end. But I have some questions that I ask everybody that is on the podcast. So I like to ask you then. So first of all, I love it when a guest shares kind of a fact about either something in their industry, some way, shape or form. It could be your product, it could be something from the past. There’s something kind of interesting that we can take with us to a happy hour. Do you have anything you can share with us?
Maria Covarrubias 35:27
Like a fun fact?
Diana Fryc 35:28
Yeah, fun fact.
Maria Covarrubias 35:33
The habanero sauce was developed in one and done type of deal. So that’s literally revision one was signed, sealed and delivered, which is huge, compared to the mustard that was probably 17 tries.
Diana Fryc 35:54
So that’s pretty good.
Maria Covarrubias 35:55
So, trial and error. I saw recently something that Albert Einstein wrote in a class that he was like, nine times one is nine. I don’t know if you saw the meme or not. But it was like, nine times one, times two, times three. So all the answers. Nine times 11 is like a random number. And they’re like, no, no, you’re wrong. Yeah, but I got all the other ones, right. Where’s the value on that? So there’s always people that are going to bring you down for not getting it right. But it takes a few tries to do it, and same with like, developing packaging, and looking at the little things, the little things in life that make a difference.
Diana Fryc 36:46
And I think as a creator, my husband is a creator. He’s an artist. And he fusses with things for very long time and sometimes, and never is satisfied with the end. So I’m surprised that you’re able to get something out the door in a one and done. That’s a big deal.
Maria Covarrubias 37:05
It is. It really wasn’t a big deal. For the other three, it was trial and error just to get everything right. That’s the beautiful thing about Cien Chiles that people share not only because I made them, but from everyone else sharing how good of a balanced, like it just brings more flavor to whatever it is you put it on. So that’s awesome to hear. Because that’s the goal, to bring something to you that you don’t have to think about. I made Ceviche with jalapeno and I didn’t have to chop up or blend any other peppers. It was pour it, like, cook the fish in line, pour a ton of jalapeno and call it a day.
Diana Fryc 38:00
I love it. I love it. Oh my goodness. Well, are there any other women out there, either leaders or rising stars that you would like to elevate or simply admire for the work that they’re doing right now?
Maria Covarrubias 38:14
Absolutely. So I’m always a big advocate of admiring the power ladies next to me that have encouraged me. So there’s like three local companies that one of them does chips, the other one makes fresh towels and the other one makes like recipe starters like jars of sauces and they’re all here in San Diego. And just watching us like bring our best selves out there, it’s just really refreshing. So Kristen from Mesa De Vida which is a recipe starters.
Diana Fryc 39:01
Out here in Seattle right?
Maria Covarrubias 39:03
She’s here in San Diego.
Diana Fryc 39:05
She’s in San Diego, maybe she moved. I think she moved. I think she used to live not far from me. Blonde hair. I’m confident it’s the same person, okay, that’s awesome, small world.
Maria Covarrubias 39:20
Yeah, I love it, just having that mentality of lifting each other up is key to us to have us all shine
Diana Fryc 39:33
That’s awesome. Okay. What brands or trends do you have your eye on right now?
Maria Covarrubias 39:39
I saw a lot of like at EXPO. I was surprised of how many, bubbling waters. Everyone’s got one now. So maybe Cien Chiles would have a spicy bubbling water.
Diana Fryc 39:59
Why not. You going to get on that, you can have that ready for Expo East.
Maria Covarrubias 40:05
I know, in my dreams, that would be crazy. Yeah, so our sauces are vegan and gluten-free and all the things. So I think we’re all trying to get in a boat of having more plant-based mentality. So yeah, we’re jumping on that boat. I still really enjoy my meat from time to time and I enjoy fish a ton. But eating more veggies, I feel it’s something that we should all be doing. And what a better way to compliment your veggies with amazing sauces. So, it makes bland broccoli tastes amazing.
Diana Fryc 40:55
Good. Yeah, I love it. Cauliflower, we’re huge cauliflower fans.
Maria Covarrubias 41:00
Love it. I make roasted cauliflower tacos with sweet potatoes. Just made me salivate when sweet potatoes roasted cauliflower and some of that habanero or the Thai bird if you can handle or slice of avocado, you are set.
Diana Fryc 41:19
Love it. Oh, my goodness. Well, we have been talking with Chef Maria Covarrubias. Did I get it?
Maria Covarrubias 41:29
Yes, you did.
Diana Fryc 41:32
Creator and founder of Cien Chiles. Chef Maria, where can people learn more about you and your company?
Maria Covarrubias 41:40
You can go to cienchiles.com to find more information about us and buy our product on our website. And we’re also in nine different states now. So we’re working on having a store locator in our website. So stay tuned for that. But for now just reach out and we’ll let you know if we have stores close to you or not. It’s a click away at cienchiles.com.
Diana Fryc 42:17
Okay. Well, thank you so much for your time today. I am so happy that we got to connect officially. And I’m excited to watch you grow and see what’s next. I anticipate some big things for you. And I want to thank all of you listeners for your time today. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend. Otherwise, have a great rest of your day and we’ll catch you next time on the Gooder Podcast.
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