Mindy Ruben took her own saucy blend from the stovetop to market shelves in Metro Detroit.
By Rob Streit
Many people find joy tinkering in the kitchen, using flavors and textures to express themselves and sharing with those close to them. Avid home chefs often hear their friends and family suggest they turn pro — sell their creations in a store or open a restaurant. That is usually where the scheming ends.
Not so for Mindy Ruben. The West Bloomfield resident took her creations from the kitchen to grocery store shelves around Metro Detroit. Ruben launched Mindy’s Yummy Sauces in late 2018 with the cooking sauce “Sesame, Sesame.”
“It’s got a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of tang,” says Ruben, a member of Congregation B’nai Moshe in West Bloomfield. “It has a complex flavor with many layers to it.”
Ruben began making sauces at home 12 years ago after being dissatisfied with store-bought dressings and marinades. Everything tasted too salty or garlicky. She wanted to see if she could do any better and began combining ingredients.
“I would stand between my pantry and my refrigerator and I would close my eyes. I would imagine ingredients coming together in a bowl. My family would always say, ‘Mom, remember how you made this because I want this again.’ Of course, I never wrote anything down. This went on for years,” Ruben says.
Years later, her youngest and soon-to-be college-bound daughter encouraged Ruben to take her sauces on the road. The new venture allowed her to combine her two passions — cooking and marketing.
Ruben has been in marketing and advertising for more than 30 years and has run her own company out of her home, all while being a stay-at-home mom.
The trick was to make the leap from the stovetop to the market shelf. Ruben decided to focus on the sesame sauce, all while keeping the recipe gluten-free and vegan.
The idea was to make a sauce that everyone could eat, regardless of dietary restrictions or allergies. She began working in an industrial kitchen and eventually found a co-packer to help with production.
“I want to be the brains behind this whole company and the progenitor of the recipes, and do the marketing, branding and selling. I really didn’t want to be mixing this up three days a week in an industrial kitchen,” Ruben says.
After some cold-calling and pavement-pounding, Mindy’s Yummy Sauces are in nine stores in the area, as well as on Amazon.
Danielle Sprecher has known Ruben for 35 years and is now a loyal customer.
“I use it primarily on salmon and grilled vegetables,” Sprecher says. “My husband and daughter love when I cook with [it].”
Ruben says she could have slipped into the leisurely life of an empty nester. But she is not ready to kick her feet up just yet.
“I’ll be 53 this month and I feel younger than I did when I was 23,” Ruben says. “If I’m going to do this, I better do this now because I don’t know what I’m going to feel like in 10 years. Right now I feel great. I feel energized, vibrant and excited.”