Artisan Feature | Mustard + Co.
Meet Bryan + Justin of Mustard and Co. One of September's featured products. Two mid-west transplants living in Seattle, Bryan + Justin were a match made in heaven with Justin's revolutionary mustard sauce and Bryan's business drive. Crafting a new brand of mustard utilizing only natural and raw products, Mustard and Co. is a flavorful, layered and versatile sauce.
Mustard and Co.
Bryan Mitchiner and Justin Hoffman
Company Launch (Year):
What Inspired You To Start Your Mustard + Co.?
Our story began as two separate stories. While working on a farm a while back in his home state of Wisconsin, Justin honed his skills as a young foodie and a compulsive label reader. His inspiration that eventually lead to the creation of Mustard and Co. took place while in line at a sandwich shop in town. There he noticed a bottle of Wisconsin-made mustard. Naturally, he picked it up and read the list of ingredients. What struck him the most was one particular ingredient: white vinegar. To him, it stood out as cheap and bland. And so, knowing the depths other vinegars could deliver, he set out to create a mustard with balsamic vinegar. A few "How to make mustard" Google searches later, Justin took what he learned and began making mustard his own way. For years, Justin reserved the recipe for friends and family.
Far out on the West Coast, Bryan was currently working for a young packaged salads startup. There he discovered his passion for entrepreneurship. For what seemed like an eternity, he wanted to merge his passion for his own entrepreneurial ideas with his love for food. He was always asking others if they would like to go into business. He loved his work, yet really, he wanted to set out on his own - break away! And so when Justin moved to Seattle to begin work at the same startup, it was an easy match. Justin had a food product that everyone loved, but just didn't quite know the next steps to take to share it beyond friends and family. Bryan had the itch to build a business around an awesome food product. It was a no brainer.
Tell us about your products.
I'd like the highlight the importance of our mustard being a raw food. The lack of applied heat results in the volatile oils present in raw mustard seed remaining in our finished product. Most mustard grinding procedures destroy mustard's pungent spiciness through a buildup of friction and thus heat. We've developed a unique process that ensures that the mustard seed is never subjected to heat, ultimately preserving the mustard's natural horseradish-like kick. We believe this to be a vital quality of our product both for it's taste and experience and also for maintaing the natural health properties of mustard.
What Does “Artisan” Mean To You?
Artisan means to focus on quality in all regards. We like to use ingredients that come from producers that also focus on quality. We use processes that preserve the quality of the ingredients and the flavors they bring to the finished product. We strive to use packaging that highlights the quality of the product inside and that has a certain level of aesthetic appeal. And finally, we like to maintain quality relationships between us, the producers, and those that enjoy our products, whether it's sharing information about Mustard and Co. or any other unrelated conversations. And the end of the day, we think this all lends to a greater taste and experience.
What is your favorite artisanal treat?
Tough question. It's hard to choose. Two products I've been using a lot late are Bonache Hot Sauce from right here in Ballard (Seattle) WA - great hot sauces that add a lot of depth, as well as heat. And the second is Jacobsen Salt. I use salt a lot while cooking, and it's great stuff.
What Drew You To Food?
Seattle! Seattle really has a strong food culture and others' appreciation for food definitely rubbed off on me (I moved from Ann Arbor MI to Seattle in 2007 to go to UW).
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
All of the great restaurants in and around Seattle. I love food and especially love to eat. Knowing what's possible with quality ingredients and quality cooking methods really inspires me to be apart of it.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
Additional mustard varieties. Maybe even a mustard hot sauce!?
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Of ours? I'm still a fan of our Honey Curry. It's our original recipe - I think it's just because it was our first!
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
I'd say salt. Love salt.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Nothing crazy. A salad of mixed greens with grape tomatoes, plums, cukes, green onion, a splash of olive oil, and of course, a dash of Jacobsen salt. Appetizer beforehand - Goat cheese and sharp white cheddar on a peppered cracker. Both cheeses at once is a great treat!
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Rick Steves bought a bottle of our mustard the other day at the market! Does that count?
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other Artisans?
Go for it! You'll figure it out as you go. Really, the best way to learn is to do it. And of course speak with mentors about issues you're having, but you can only do so much planning and thinking. Sometimes you just need to dive in head first.
What was an "Ah-Ha" moment that made you realize you were on to something great with Mustard + Co.?
Everyone that tries it really likes it. Some say it's the best mustard they've ever had. One gal used to stock pile mustards in Europe each year during her annual trip abroad. She no longer needs to!
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
There's lots. Bonache Hot Sauce is killer. Ballard Bee Honey Co is also awesome - great product, killer packaging. Ethan Stowell is a great local chef with a bunch of great restaurants. There's oh so many more!
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Probably something with bacon. And perhaps salmon. Cooked by Nathan Myhrvold.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Currently, Sitka & Spruce. In a beautiful space that was once a car dealership, great NW food.
What’s Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
Playing racquetball. Definitely an underrated sport. Other than that, continuing to explore Seattle and the PNW.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Currently, Chet Faker on Pandora. Perfect for cooking through the dinner party and right into cleaning up.