Michael + Marlene

Brother + sister duo Michael + Marlene join us both as this week's Meet A Local + one of November's Featured Artisans with their Seafarer Spice Blend.  Growing up in a cooking household, Michael + Marlene grew to love food from an early age.  Sticking with their passion for fresh + locally sourced products, they have slowly began creating a culinary empire under the Savour moniker: their catering company, Savour This Moment, a sauce line (Savour This Sauce), a new spice blend line (Savour This Kitchen) + an upcoming Soup & Sorbet line.

Savour This _____________

Founder/Creator: Michael and Marlene Bernstein

Los Angeles, CA

What Inspired You To Start Your Company?

Passion + Freedom. Doing what we love inspires us. Our company started as an idea. With hard work, dedication and vision, we have grown it into a brand. No entrepreneur would state they did not go into business for financial security and we are no different. We started the company so we can be active in doing a great many things, and to have the freedom to make decisions as to how we wish to implement them. Our inspiration to move forward is drawn from learning about those who have succeeded in the past, as well as people now, who continue to succeed. Their perseverance is what really strikes a chord with us. Knowing it can be done, and seeing how it can be done, propels our passion forward.

Tell us about your products.

Our products are gourmet, and health oriented. This is evident as we choose not to use salt or sugar in our spice blends, and our sauces are vegan as well as gluten-free. We want our products to not only appeal to all, but be accessible by all, so we priced them to be slightly higher end, yet fair and affordable. We believe that every individual should have access to wholesome, clean, and fresh products, and we believe we found a way to make that happen, without challenging the integrity of our products.

What Does “Artisan” Mean To You?

Artisan made is displaying a degree of knowledge, dedication, and skill, in whatever it is one pursues.

What is your favorite artisanal treat?

Yes Bar! They are our favorite pick me up.

What Drew You To Food?

Cooking with our mom and grandmother while growing up, was our first natural draw to food. I mean food is all around us, and unavoidable, but we have always been drawn to healthier food, and home prepared food is generally healthier than anything outside the home that is likely to be processed unfortunately. Relating our upbringing to the present; one of our other goals is to really help encourage people to cook using our products. We explore the versatility of everything we produce, and catalogue those recipes on our website for people to use. But even more importantly, we hope for people to pick up a spice blend, and just go explore. There is an inner chef in us all, we just help bring that person out.

Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?

We draw inspiration from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. Whether eating out, or having prepared meals at home, we had always interfaced with, or used at least some of the ingredients individually, that go into our products. I guess you can say we consolidated what we had been accustomed to preparing or consuming, drew upon the flavors from the around the world that interested us most, and rolled out our lines accordingly.

What Products Are You Working On Now?

We are developing a soup and sorbet line.

Do You Have a Favorite Product?

Marlene: My favorite spice blend is Nomad. Michael’s favorite is Gypsy.

Latest Ingredient Obsession?

It’s unanimous, Sumac!

What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Coincidentally, we purchased some boneless chicken thighs, and barbequed them. We added some Nomad and olive oil drizzle, and they were spectacular. On the side we had Merchant seasoned, oven roasted cauliflower. Just add salt!

What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?

Julia Child.

What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other Artisans?

Don’t theorize too much, implement. School, education, and theory are critically important, and we do not wish to downplay any of those items. But it is both our failures and successes that have propelled us forward the most. Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ campaign comes to mind. It is a simple, yet strong message that we would urge others to contemplate and act upon. The world will not reward you for being passive, you need to actively engage at all times and never give up.

What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?

Two of our most influential people are Annie at Baia Pasta and Vanda at Ayara Thai. They have both been a huge inspiration and source of support for us. They have shared and exchanged so much information with us, and have hooked us up with some amazing contacts. In our business encounters, we have always believed it is better to exchange information and help others, rather than hold on to it for yourself. We have always appreciated the fact that they both see things the same way. Annie carries our products up in Oakland and she has been nothing short of incredible. We like to refer to her as the great connector. Vanda has risked so much to grow her business, by putting it all on the line. We see it, and have immense respect for what she has done and will continue to do.

If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?

MichaelBeef Ribs, hands down.

MarleneAnything with avocado. I’m a California girl.

Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?

Nothing fancy - we would have to say, sitting in our grandmother’s kitchen with our family eating Yemenite soup, Israeli salad and pita with hummus. All made by her from scratch moments before serving.

What’s Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?

While the kitchen is almost our favorite place to be, we do enjoy leaving it occasionally, if only briefly. We actually enjoy taking morning walks in our neighborhood, as often as time will allow us to do so. This helps us clear our heads, and start the day calm and at peace. As each day will have a certain amount of turbulence, it is nice to have a base line starting point that is more serene. We are very active in general, and enjoy hiking, road trips, and paddleboarding. We are avid redditors as well, but certainly enjoy a good article or book.

What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?

No Doubt or Apocalyptica.

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