Dining Services unveiled a jarred version of its signature Mel Sauce last Monday, and students are wondering, why?
Well, let’s look.
According to the Senior Executive Chef for Dining Services Antonio “Chef Tony” Pignagrande, a packaged version of Mel Sauce had been in the midst of development for nearly two years, and had endured several revisions over the past 12 years. The recently released version, however, is the original recipe that was created in January 2005.
“We wanted to keep some of the nostalgia from the old Meliora Restaurant that the Mel Sauce was created from,” said Pignagrande. “The sauce has been used at all other locations, but we really wanted it to have its own platform.”
The story of how Mel Sauce was developed, was “pretty anticlimactic,” said Pignagrande.
“We were just asked to come up with a signature burger for campus and the Mel Burger and sauce was what won out,” he said.
Pignagrande also put to rest the common misconception that the Mel Sauce formula—mayonnaise, chipotle sauce, sugar, cider vinegar, spices, and salt—is a secret.
“All the ingredients are on the bottle, and I can share with anyone, no secrets,” he said.
For $5.99, students can purchase a glass jar of the locally packaged, orange concoction at Wilson Commons, Hillside, Grab & Go, and the Eastman School of Music.
“We are working on a couple other sauces that hopefully will be rolled out next year,” said Pignagrande.
No insight as to what flavors these “brand new sauces” might be has been revealed, but Pignagrande said, “they will focus on 100% local ingredients.”
Students, Dining Services, and alumni, said Pignagrande, “pushed” for Mel Sauce to be bottled, but when asked at the Pit Sunday night, some students seemed wary of the idea.
“I can’t say I’m the number one fan of Mel Sauce,” said sophomore Erin Dong. “It’s not something I would crave or seek out, but I think it’s kind of cool because it’s school related.”
Senior Darius Colson was less optimistic, declaring that he’d never purchase it.
Pignagrande, however, remains hopeful that sales will increase as word travels.
“I would love to have the product sold everywhere,” he said.