Disclosure: We received two small jars of sauce from Sensational Sauces for this review. We received no other compensation for this post and the opinions contained herein, are our own and reflect our experience with the products. Your own may differ.
Sometimes, it’s all about the sauce.
We recently had the chance to sample some Sensational Sauces … no, that’s not just what we thought of them, that’s the actual company name.
Duane Ward is the owner and executive chef of Sensational Sauces, a concept born in Brooklyn, and currently manufacturing in Queens.
Duane grew up in Flint, Michigan. His mom was a teacher and competition cake maker; his dad was a former military, an avid community volunteer, and a General Motors’ worker. It was during his senior year of college that he decided he wanted to be a chef. So off to NYC he went, attending the New York Restaurant School at the Art Institute. Duane credits his parents with instilling him in creativity, drive, discipline, sustainability, and honesty – all of which he says influences his cooking.
After working hard to earn his stripes in the restaurant industry, Duane decided to step out on his own and turn his love of sauces into something more, “I had fallen in love with the sauce world. How something so simple could make or break a meal.”
Enter Sensational Sauces. Presented through Bold Tastes, Different Flavor Combinations, and Sensationally Fresh Ingredients.
Duane focuses on using the freshest ingredients possible and eliminating chemicals, additives, and preservatives. There are currently 7 sauces in the signature line, each made in small batches.
As for our taste test, we sampled Asian Sesame and Island Fire.
Ingredients: Chili, Soy Sauce, Fish Oil, Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds
Asian Sesame has all the savoriness you’d expect from something like teriyaki but without all that saltiness. The toasted sesame flavor was present, but not overwhelming. We marinated some chicken thighs for about 20 minutes in 1 tablespoon of the sauce and popped them onto the grill.
Recommended for meat, poultry, and fish Asian Sesame also worked very nicely for grilled tofu.
Ingredients: Chili, Water Chestnuts, Ketchup, Pineapple, Orange Juice, Sesame Oil, Cider Vinegar, Turbinado Sugar, Tomato Paste, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Lime Juice, buter, Dry Mustard, Sea Salt, Spice, Ginger and Cumin.
Island Fire isn’t as hot as it sounds. The heat from the chilies is gentle so as not to outshine the sweeter, tropical flavors. It’s a tangy, zesty balance with a hint of heat at the back of your throat. It’s recommended for fish and pork but definitely works for chicken as well.
Both Sensational Sauces we tried got a solid thumbs up. We definitely want to check out the other flavors Chef Ward is cooking up – namely Toasted Vanilla Cognac BBQ Sauce. Sounds sensational, right? (See what I did there?)
Currently, Sensational Sauces is a small start-up, pretty much a one-man show. Duane hopes to expand production and availability in the near future.
You can purchase your own Sensational Sauces online: http://shopsensationalsauces.bigcartel.com/