"...I have no doubt some serious work went into getting the formula just right because no one flavor dominates, the spice and seasonings all meld together beautifully. I couldn't stop dunking my short ribs into this sauce. I'm convinced it would make just about anything taste good."

– Amy Sherman, Cooking with Amy

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SFQ Goes Back to the Future at Whole Foods Market

The original S.F. Whole Foods.
It feels as if I’ve come full circle and traveled through time. When I worked in the specialty foods department at the original San Francisco Whole Foods back in the 90's, I never thought that one day I’d actually have my very own product on their shelves, but that's exactly what just happened.

That's right, SFQ is now carried by this country's premier natural foods supermarket chain! We are currently on the San Francisco shelves in the Franklin; Noe Valley; Haight Street; Ocean Ave. and SoMa stores and very much hope to eventually be stocked in all of the Northern California locations.

Whole Foods field trip to a local
goat cheese vendor!
While working for Whole Foods, one of my favorite parts of the job was helping people put together interesting menus using unique, artisan products not typically available in other grocery stores. I also enjoyed meeting new, local and original producers who would bring in their own goods for us to sample.

I find it a happy coincidence that one of those early producers was Michael Recchiuti, who had brought his newly created pate des fruits for our department to taste. I can still remember the excitement in his eyes when he brought in this special confection.

Years later, with as much excitement in my eyes, I asked him to taste our sauce. In its earliest stages, I knew I wanted to pay tribute to San Francisco’s love and history with chocolate, and include it as an ingredient in the sauce.

Chocolatier, Michael Recchiuti,
was an early inspiration.
So it was fortuitous having someone with Michael's palate give me his trusted opinion. I wanted to reveal hints of chocolate in the final recipe, but still wanted it easily identified as a classic American BBQ sauce.

I "heart" Christine's truffles!
Adding yet another chocolate layer to this story, Christine Doerr, of Neo Cocoa, was my neighbor at the first farmer’s market I ever attended, and introduced me to Harv Singh, Whole Foods Markets Local Forager. Under his guidance, SFQ has gained approval to be carried in Whole Foods Northern California region of stores.

On the shelf at the
Whole Foods in Noe Valley!
I feel very excited and fortunate to be working with Whole Foods again. I still smile remembering Christine’s words of encouragement after I thanked her for the introduction, telling me to just “pay it forward.” Now, to think I’ll be that artisan producer that gets to do tastings with the Whole Foods employees, gives me a very special feeling of pride and satisfaction.

I wish to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone involved with our sauce getting into Whole Foods, and maybe one day I can help someone who is launching a new product of their own. As long as it's not another San Francisco-style barbecue sauce, that is. ;)


  1. Wonderful story Michelle! Congratulations on getting your superb sauce into Whole Foods. I'm happy to be able to find it easily!

  2. This sauce is the BOMB. Love it, wish I could get it down in San Diego.

    Keith Gran