Launching Duck Island Chili Sauce

I was an actor in my early years, in part because I loved getting a reaction out of the audience. So it’s no surprise that when I serve Duck Island Gourmet Chili Sauce to new people, I love the smiles that surround me. But, I didn’t create Duck Island Chili Sauce just for the smiles. I created it because I thought condiments needed to be taken to the next level. So for one July 4th party at the Flying Monkey in Tremont, I concocted a chili sauce that would give people’s taste buds a bigger bang than the fireworks. My goal was to make a Coney Island-type chili sauce. Using all of my favorite ingredients, many of them locally sourced, I made a couple quarts, brought them to the party and watched it quickly disappear.

At the urging of friends and family, I continued perfecting the recipe by experimenting with different ingredients and combinations. I took classes at The International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute (ICASI), did a two-day boot camp at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY...all while working a full-time job as an architectural lighting designer. The result of my training, sweat and tears is Duck Island Chili Sauce. It’s been embraced by local Cleveland chefs, restaurants, markets, foodies and non-foodies alike.

Now it’s time to be a part of the Cleveland food success story by helping me bring Duck Island Chili Sauce to the market—a full-scale production run to get Duck Island Chili Sauce where it belongs, on store shelves and into the hands of Cleveland chefs and Clevelanders alike. And I need your help to do it.

Making sauce in my kitchen as a one-man operation won’t cut it to bring it to a larger audience. After months of searching, I found a company that has my same exacting standards. They’re going to use my recipes and hand-picked ingredients to create and bottle my first full batch of sauces—medium, hot and vegan.

I truly love making people happy with food. And I love the vibrant food scene we have in Cleveland. With your help, Duck Island Chili Sauce can be a part of this success story.

Funds will be used to commercialize my sauces, which includes: Production, Packaging, USDA Fees, Creating a Web Presence, Marketing and a few minor expenses associated with starting a small business.

Open a jar of sweet, spicy, savory, zesty, tangy, thick, juicy happiness. And together, let’s bring a unique taste of Cleveland to the world.

Yours in the sauce,

Michael Tortora
Duck Island Gourmet Chili Sauce

P.S. If you’re wondering how the name came about, it pays homage to three of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland—Tremont, where I live and first created my sauce in my home kitchen; Ohio City, where I would venture to buy ingredients; and, Duck Island, which sits in the middle and bridges the two. One day, I was sitting at a stoplight there making the trip from my kitchen to the stores and back, which I had done many times while working to perfect my sauce. That’s when it came to me that using the words “Duck Island” in the name was a great way to honor the journey of creating this new sauce... both the long journey to reach this point and the short journey between neighborhoods, and that which unites them.Save
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Michael Tortora 
Cleveland, OH