Make us your home page
Instagram

Town 'N Country couple sell Thai sauces and dream of growing business

TOWN 'N COUNTRY — Despite living in the United States, Petta Brown grew up surrounded by the flavors of Thailand.

Moving from Thailand to New Jersey as a child, Brown's parents brought along the bold recipes of their homeland. Brown returned to Asia as an adult and fell in love with Thai cuisine even more.

"In our country, herbs and spices are so dense that the flavor of the food is more intense," Brown said.

After stints in real estate, a move back to the States, and opening and then closing a French-Thai restaurant in Orlando, Brown, 47, thought she was done working in the food industry.

"I said I would never get back into the food business again," she said.

That is, until friends urged her to bottle and sell the Thai sauces she had been giving as gifts for years.

Made without MSG or preservatives, Brown's four Secret Gourmet Sauces — red and green curry sauces, satay peanut sauce and tamarind sauce — use almost all Florida-sourced ingredients.

And they helped spur an entire business, Asian Confusion.

About a year ago, Brown and her husband, U.K.-born Ian Brown, turned their office and test kitchen, at 5831 Memorial Highway, into Thai Gourmet Market, which seats 14 people. Using her sauces as a base to the menu, they serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday.

With the sauces still the main focus of the business, the couple spend their weekends selling them at various farmers markets throughout Tampa Bay.

They often serve food as well, to showcase the uses of the different sauces.

"We try to inspire people to cook at home, using my sauces," Petta Brown said.

She also would like to inspire people to eat healthier.

"Many people don't realize that all soy sauce from Asia and many premade sauces are laced with MSG, even if the label doesn't say it," Brown said.

What makes her Secret Gourmet Sauces unique, she said, is the lack of those ingredients.

"It's really hard to find those qualities in Asian cuisine," she said.

The line is gluten-free and Brown said she is working on making a vegan version of two of the sauces, which currently have shellfish as an ingredient.

The sauces are manufactured at a plant in Lake County, but the couple is planning to expand manufacturing and move to a closer facility this year, with a goal of breaking into the highly competitive supermarket industry.

But their plans don't stop there.

The couple hope to bring a line of packaged precooked meals to local markets this year, as well.

The pair are working with Hillsborough County Economic Development's Small Business Information Center, Petta Brown said, to get more information on opportunities for businesses owned by women and minorities.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman toured the company in December, bringing attention to the couple's venture, which is part of their plan for success.

"There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs in the area who might want to help," Petta Brown said. "We want to make noise. Maybe they'll notice us."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

. IF YOU GO

Thai Gourmet Market

In addition to their signature sauces, the market serves lunch and dinner from

10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It's at 5831-A Memorial Highway,

Tampa. (813) 817-9050; thaigourmetmarket.com.

Town 'N Country couple sell Thai sauces and dream of growing business 01/10/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Charities

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  3. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  4. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  5. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]