The Saucy Story of Bitchin’ Sauce

Attention dip lovers! Have you discovered Bitchin’ Sauce yet? It is one of life’s true pleasures IMO. In fact, I covet Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce so much that I JOINED COSTCO JUST SO I COULD BUY THE BULK SIZE TUB OF IT after avoiding membership my entire life!

Curious about the brand, I began researching…and was so in awe that co-founder, Starr Edwards, created the first Bitchin’ Sauce recipe at age 16 that I could not wait to interview her and share her saucy story with y’all!

New Bitchin' Sauce trio available at Costco!

Bitchin’ Sauce starts with raw almonds, which they cold-press into creamy concoctions of various savory flavors: original, chipotle, pesto, cilantro chili, Bombay, buffalo, heat, spinach artichoke, organic roasted green chili & pepita, and organic green onion. Plus, they have a new line of sweet sauces that includes salted caramel (my kids’ favorite), chocolate, and apple pie. The entire line is vegan, gluten free, and kosher.

I recently caught up with co-founder and CEO, Starr Edwards. We dug in deep on the inception of the brand, its growth, how her brand is supporting musicians during COVID-19, her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, and more.

Here is my interview with Starr Edwards…

Bitchin' Sauce founder Starr Edwards

A Young Chef

You first concocted Bitchin’ Sauce when you were just 16 —so impressive! Guessing Original was your first flavor. How did you know it was a keeper?

It all started with the OG, and it took a few variations to get the right balance of creamy, savory, and tang. Delighted by the whipped texture and addictive flavor, I knew it was a game changer for a restrictive diet. But I knew it was a winner when it became a family staple and friends were asking for the recipe.

What flavor came next? Which is your favorite today?

The next flavor was actually Pesto. It just made so much sense to me, since the recipe played on themes inspired by traditional sauces like Genovese Pesto and Romesco.

My favorite flavor today is Chipotle. I just love it! I eat it all the time.

ME TOO! You invented liquid gold with that one.

I read that you became vegan when you were just 16 as well (coincidentally, I actually stopped eating red meat at age 16;)). What was your impetus to do so at that time? 

By the time I was 16, I had already graduated high school and was living in a house full of friends while working multiple jobs. It was a gap year of sorts and I felt going vegan was just another way to explore something new.

Were you alone in your decision or was it something you did with your family or friends? Are you still vegan (no judgement!)?

My family was a healthy/foodie bunch, but I definitely was the only one willing to make the dedicated plunge.

I was vegan/vegetarian until I became pregnant with our son, Skipper (the boy on the Bitchin’ tub). It is funny what your body craves when it is making a baby! For me it was hard-boiled eggs – and I NEVER used to eat eggs.

At 21, I started working as an apprentice to a classically trained chef who had a thriving business in San Diego. The job was a godsend because my employer had just recently had a kiddo too and allowed me to bring my son to work.

I learned a lot, not just about cooking but about business. I remember being shocked when my boss divulged that she charged her clients cancellation fees. The notion of valuing one’s time so much that you could charge for a service that had not even been completed was mind-boggling.

When I set out on my own, my niche was vegan comfort food, but I cooked whatever folks needed for their various diets.  Bitchin’ bowls were always a big hit with all of my clients.

Building a Brand

I read that you started sharing your sauce at farmers’ markets in San Diego during your personal chef days to try to secure consistent, flexible work as a new mom. And from that success, you built the Bitchin’ brand. How did you catch your first big break and what was it?

Every stepping stone felt like a big break.

My first Vitamix was pure luxury, even though it was second-hand. I also remember replacing the income from my $13/hr job and feeling like I had changed my stars. Each added market was additionally life changing because it meant there was work for my friends and family. Getting our first commercial kitchen, retail stores that were open when it was raining, building a team that believed in our vision…I suppose this is all to say it is not one big break, it is a landscape of transformative growth and the small victories mean a lot.

I have seen Bitchin’ Sauce at Whole Foods, Target, and Costco. Where (geographically) are you available now? Any plans to expand internationally?

You can find Bitchin’ goodies at all Whole Foods stores nationally.

We have distribution in most major retailers nationwide like Target, Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Safeway, Raley’s, and Costco (you can check the store locator to find a store near you). A lot of natural food stores, like Natural Grocers and Fresh Thyme, have super Bitchin’ line-ups, including our organic and Sweets.

And, 7-Eleven is currently carrying Bitchin’ Snackers!

Bitchin’ Sauce is also working to expand sales internationally, with a focus on North America and Western Europe.

Bitchin' Sauces

What is your favorite part of your job? What has been the biggest challenge?

Two favorites: I love seeing customers genuinely enjoying our product and I love it when team members find their “Ideal Harry”. This concept of the “Ideal Harry” originated when I asked our CMO (who was then an 18-year-old member of the production team named Harry) what his ideal job was. He responded, “Marketing”, which is fitting as our Chief of Marketing. Seeing people find the occupation that fits their strengths is incredibly rewarding and often surprising.

The biggest challenge has been the unknown. As a generally positive person, it is not in my nature to fret about the future. After getting hit by a couple curveballs, I feel like that outlook has been a bit tainted. So I guess the first challenge is the unknown and the bigger challenge is not letting it get in the way.

Beyond the Sauce

I follow your Instagram account and have been catching a few of your Bitchin’ Sauce Presents musical guests. I absolutely LOVE these (they tug at my New Orleans musical heart strings)…tell me more!

Ooooh NOLA! Well, my husband Luke is a touring musician that I shanghaied into the CPG (consumer packaged goods) world.

Our first year of marriage was spent touring around the Southeast playing bars and clubs (I was the roadie and merch girl).  We really have a heart for musicians, their bands, and crew.  Luke was actually on tour when the pandemic hit and we saw all our friends and tour mates kicked off the road.

We decided to start Bitchin’ Sauce Presents as a way to support this community and provide a venue to showcase some of our favorite musicians. It has been amazing to see our music and sauce worlds collide. 

Our first episode was with Lucinda Williams and she played Passionate Kisses just for me!

Bitchin' Sauce presents

Anything else on the horizon for Bitchin’ Sauce that you would like to share?

In addition to continued expansion both nationally and internationally, we also recently started our music label called Bitchin’ Music Group in partnership with Universal.  Bitchin’ Sauce’s co-founder (and my handsome husband) L.A. Edwards is a songwriter and was on tour full time before Bitchin’ Sauce. At first we thought Bitchin’ Sauce would supplement our crazy life on the road but then it became something bigger than that.

Our first release on Bitchin’ Music Group will be L.A.’s “Blessings From Home; Volume 1” which was recorded with some of the members from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers back in January pre-pandemic.  We’re so excited to finally get it out there and get back into the music space!

L.A. Edwards

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs, to their core, are problem-solvers that are willing to take on risk for an unrealized reward. Hold that reward in your mind’s eye. If it seems out of reach, break it down into stepping stone-sized achievements and start on solving the smaller obstacles in front of you. Sometimes, the ultimate goal can be overwhelming. You build confidence by having a series of successes, rather than running face first into a mountain.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Starr’s inspiring journey building the Bitchin’ Sauce brand. Be sure to try her sauces too! If you can’t find them in a store near you, you can order through the website. Or else attempt to make your own at home !?

And please, share this post with your Bitchin’-lovin’ friends too!



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