For 30 + years I worked in the fashion industry making apparel for both global and local brands in the US and also Europe. Around 4 years ago I decided to make the step from making apparel to making food, a more compostable product with less global waste. Between 2018 and 2019, I took many rec cooking classes to learn bread and pasta making and in 2020 I enrolled in a plant based self study course to understand the fundamentals of plant based cooking. This was followed in 2021 by a pro culinary course here in SF.
I’ve been lactose intolerant for around 20 years so a lot of cheese filled pasta or creamy sauces had been challenging for me. I either avoided it or accepted I’d feel rubbish the next day.
In 2018, I stopped eating meat and after travelling for a few months with my husband in Nepal, Japan and Australia, discovered some amazing plant based (vegan) restaurants that made plant based the main event instead of a consolation prize or after thought.
It was then that I had a lightbulb moment of wanting to combine the lactose free, the pasta and the meat free element into a product that I both loved to make and eat, and that could potentially appeal to others.
And that’s when the idea for Plant Dazzler started to germinate.
This is me:
Hand crafted food made with intention, care, and with the philosophy of versatility. It also happens to be plant based.
I am not a meal planner, (I’ve tried, and failed), instead I prefer to have versatile products that can be used for multiple dishes.
Pesto can be used as a pasta sauce, as a base on avocado toast, and also as a topping on roasted or grilled veggies. It’s a real 3 in 1. Same for tomato sauce. Use it as is, add olives for a salty kick, or mushrooms for a chewy texture.
For the pasta, same deal. It’s like denim, you can dress it up or keep it casual depending on the event.
This is how I prefer to roll when I’m thinking about groceries or dinner, so when I was planning Plant Dazzler, this is what I wanted it to be.
Our Brand Pillars
We make everything in house from locally sourced produce. We work on tight margins but I do (or will) pay myself a living wage. I say ‘we’ but it’s just me right now.
My costings are pretty simple, We are small batch producers and we don’t buy our fresh produce at huge scale right now.
I cost out my time at $15.00 / hour (minimum wage in SF is $16.32) and I work on around a +/-50% margin which covers my kitchen rental, insurance, gas prices.
Clearly, I’m doing this for the love of making food and not because I want to become rich. My aim is to make a living doing something I love and to make product that people like to eat.
It’s really important to me that we are as zero waste as possible.
We only make what you order. If we have anything left over from our production days, I pop it in the freezer and it’s used for photography or my own lunch or dinner.
Once we begin to scale, any leftover product will be donated as whole portions to local food programs.
Our packaging is ‘mostly compostable’ (I say ‘mostly’ because the stickers are not because we would have incurred HUGE minimums of 50k piece orders). The stickers are however easy peel so can be removed from the boxes and jars and recycled. Our lids, boxes and parchment paper are from Good Start Packaging and they are freezer friendly.
For the moment we have our sauces in jars which you can either keep or return for re use. I’m looking for other solutions to avoid using glass.
Our product is a luxury product, it’s hand made and it takes time to create which is reflected in the cost.
I don’t want to cheapen the ingredients or pay myself less than a living wage and I don’t want to use wasteful packaging.
Our goods are small batch because I want us to focus on quality of product. At a certain point of scale you lose control over quality and the product becomes a commodity. I worked long enough in the fashion industry to know that's not what I want from the brand.
Does this mean we won't be aiming for global domination? Yup, and I'm ok with that.
We are actually hand crafted:
There are two methods for making pasta, there is the roll and shape by hand (think ravioli or tortellini) and there is the extruded (made by a machine, where the dough is pushed though a small metal shape (think rigatoni, or spaghetti).
The extruded can produce a portion of pasta in about 30 seconds, the hand shaped takes about 30 mins.
We roll and shape by hand, we do not extrude, therefore it takes more time and subsequently costs more money
Where’s our kitchen?:
Plant Dazzler makes its product in a well established commercial kitchen here in San Francisco. We are fully permitted with California Department of Public Health and are insured to operate. We are legit, my friend!
Where do we source our ingredients from?
We try to source as locally as possible ensuring the product is workable for our costs, comes from within state and is certified organic. We also love it when our partners have strong sustainability and social programs.
As a result, we are proud to be part of the Good Food Guild.
If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org