Stellar was born in fits and starts over many years. We were officially founded in 2011, and spent a year developing The Plan. The Plan was to offer a few sauces to the public, which were healthier condiments. The sauces had to taste amazing. They also had to have low sugar content, reasonable sodium, and avoid unnecessary ingredients like chemical food coloring, preservative chemicals, gluten fillers, high fructose corn syrup, or any other non-flavor fillers. In short, make condiments that were real food.
We had an advantage. Chris had a family BBQ sauce recipe, and had heard for decades how the family “should be bottling it.” With the blessing of the family, he reworked the recipe, cleaned it up, and started bottling Stellar Original Mesquite BBQ. He also developed a pair of unique, complex, medium (and no) heat pepper sauces. One of these (Smoquito) paired up with the family BBQ sauce recipe, and Stellar’s Spicy Mesquite BBQ joined the original.
The first time we ever sold to the public was at the 2012 Gettin’ Sauced BBQ festival in Austin, Texas. We entered both of our BBQ sauces, sold a few bottles, and generally patted ourselves on the back for managing to attend an event with many of the big names in Texas BBQ. Shortly after, we received amazing news: We had taken both 1st and 3rd place in the People’s Choice competition. Our home town had spoken, “More, please!”
Since the first public event, Stellar Gourmet has grown. The Plan has grown, although it is still basically the same:
We offer a range of condiments, spices, pickles, jellies, and sauces. We make them with the best ingredients we can find. We personally forage ingredients when possible from raw lands. We purchase ingredients from local growers whenever possible, and work with growers to begin locally producing ingredients we currently have to ship. We source much of our produce from small farms that sell primarily at farmer’s markets. We support farmers who produce using sustainable methods whenever possible, to help small farmers who can’t afford organic certification but still do it right. Check out some of our local growers on our Sourcing page.
Stellar offers a core line of products that we make year round, and a larger line of seasonal items based on what is fresh and ripe right now. We introduce new seasonal items regularly, most of which are only available at our direct markets. So if you are in the neighborhood, come by and see us! Preview what will be at upcoming farmer’s markets on our Market Items page, and get a sneak peek of what is happening in our test kitchen on our Coming Soon page.
Most importantly, we still make every product with love. We work in big stock pots, on a big stove, and taste test every batch to ensure it still tastes amazing. Just like we did at home, just bigger!
We would love to make you a fan. Our way of making fans is usually to feed them. Swing by a market or one of our special events and try some samples. If you need help, or want a custom order, or anything else we can do to help, drop us a line!
Drinks for the Kitchen
Chief Executive Cook
My name is Chris, and I am a good food junkie. I was raised in a family that micro-farmed for its own benefit, with fruit and nut trees, peppers and tomatoes, chickens, dogs and a tractor. I was taught to cook by my grandmother from a young age, and family events always revolved around our kitchen table. Depression era mentors helped forge an appreciation for the food that grew in our garden, as well as in the woods on the other side of the fence. They also helped me forge an appreciation for the process that must go into all food, from husbandry to butchering, foraging to farming. My family taught me that the food from home always tasted better because it was made with love. These days I make food, much of it the very flavors I grew up with. I make every one of my products with love, and hope to share the wonderful tastes of our real food with you.
Director of Social Media Marketing
“My favorite thing about working for Stellar Gourmet Foods is watching the looks on people’s faces when they try our products for the first time. We hear the word ‘WOW’ a lot, it’s so rewarding.” Amy grew up in one of the most delicious states, Louisiana, but never braved spicy ingredients until Chris started sneaking it into her food. Now she’s the first to try everything in the test kitchen. Amy’s background in photography and marketing makes her a great addition to the Stellar team. “My favorite Stellar products are the Spicy Pickled Red Onions, Blackberry Mojito Jelly, and of course, the BBQ Sauce.”