Sabauce co-founders Amit Amin and Ron Sheth think so.
Sabauce co-founder Amit Amin was simply trying to create a marinade built around flavors that he remembered from his childhood. His brother-in-law, co-founder Ron Sheth, tasted something bigger. After a bit of research, Sheth identified a market void he felt Amin’s creation could fill.
The pair launched Sabauce in 2017, the name derived from shabash, a word used on the Indian subcontinent as an exclamation of praise meaning “well done!” The company’s flagship marinade is similar in profile to tandoori, combining a yogurt base and a mix of Eastern spices that includes cumin, turmeric, black salt and mango powder. Enzymes in the yogurt help to reduce marinating time and tenderize chicken, portobello mushrooms, pork, lamb, salmon and other fish.
As neither Amin nor Sheth had a culinary background, the pair learned the cottage food industry quickly with the support of fellow entrepreneurs working in the commercial test kitchen 1400 Food Lab, including Brooke Hayes, who carries the marinade at her Speckled Hen Market in Worthington. “It was so fragrant and so beautiful, and they were so enthusiastic about what they were doing,” Hayes recalls. “It really caught my attention.”
After selling their first bottle of Sabauce in January 2017, the brothers-in-law focused on the fledgling company’s online presence for the first few months and courted influencers—barbecue pitmasters and restaurant owners—who helped share the Sabauce brand on social media.
When it was time to move into retail, the partners focused on local markets and butcher shops, with Sabauce’s first placement at one of Columbus’ originals, Thurn’s Specialty Meats, followed by both outposts of The Hills Market and The Butcher & Grocer. Local restaurants have also taken note. In May, Mikey’s Late Night Slice unveiled a collaboration pizza called SabAWESOME, and Italian Village’s City Tavern features a Sabauce Portabella burger.
Online orders of the marinade remove some of the guesswork for the home cook by arriving packaged with a marinade bag, spice packet, lime and recipe sheet (which even includes music playlists for both prep and dining). For those looking to feed a tailgate crowd this season, a 16-ounce bottle of Sabauce can cover 5 to 6 pounds of protein, whether you prefer chicken wings or tofu bites.