Entrepreneurs and business partners Sari Schiff and George Gaspar
were working on an international health care initiative when Schiff
started telling Gaspar about these succulent, melt-in-your-mouth
bacon sandwiches that were unlike any she had ever tasted ≠ó and how
she thought they could bring them to Milwaukee. Instead of laughing
the idea off, Gaspar joined in her enthusiasm, and soon a new
business was born: The Bacon Co. Since earlier this year, theyíve
been hosting pop-up dinners and events, gaining a cult following in
Milwaukee. Schiff, who is due to give birth to her fourth child any
day now, and Gaspar sat down to talk about all things bacon.
Where did you get
this idea from?
Schiff: In Toronto, I was in the St. Lawrence Market,
and they have butchers there. Itís sort of like our public market,
and they cut these bacon sandwiches. I was there with my husband,
and I said, ďOh, this is really good, but I think I can do this
better.Ē I was in a business meeting with George, and I said, ďWhat
do you think about this?Ē
Gaspar: I said, ďAbsolutely.Ē It was perfect timing.
I was looking to do something in the food and beverage industry. She
has a pretty extensive culinary background, and the two of us
started tooling around in the kitchen in research and development
mode, and thatís how we got where we are today.
Schiff: We tried two or three different cures, and we
found one that works. It gives (the bacon) an amazing flavor and a
great crust, and it holds its flavor when we cut it.
Gaspar: We looked at the whole process. We make all
of our own mustard. We tried about 10 different types of bread and
didnít find what we were looking for, so we sat down with Brian
Miller of Miller Baking Co.
Schiff: He delivered it. Itís sort of a cross between
a really substantial brioche and a Hawaiian roll, but it doesnít
have that failure in taste and texture (that the other rolls did).
Tell us a bit
about your culinary background.
Schiff: I went to chef school at The Art Institute
(of) Fort Lauderdale after four years of college in Wisconsin. I
cooked for different catering companies and restaurants. I donít
think of myself as a foodie; I consider myself a foodologist. I
study what people eat and what foods become foods of note. I think
the hottest meat out there is bacon, not pork, and I donít think
itís going anywhere.
Why is your bacon so different?
Gaspar: We take slab bacon, about 12 to 14 pounds
each, and we have a proprietary cure, and we cure it, slow roast it,
(and) slice by hand so theyíre thick pieces of bacon. Itís not like
the bacon you think of at the brunch table ó itís like brisket. The
fat just melts into the meat, so by the time weíre cutting it, itís
got a very soft texture, and itís extremely flavorful.
Schiff: Itís been an interesting ride. We started
trying things and doing surveys and getting peopleís feedback.
People thought we should have a spicy mustard so we added that, and
then we started working with the distillery, and we added a whiskey
mustard. We keep adding a few things, and that keeps it fun. Itís
not the same thing every time youíre there.
How did your
testing turn into a business?
Gaspar: Dave Jurena, who owns The Soup Market, is a
very dear friend of ours, and he just said to us, ďIf you ever want
to use my kitchen and do a pop-up tasting for friends and family,
let me know.Ē That was very generous of him, and we went in on a
Saturday morning and started playing around with things. Then we
moved over to Great Lakes Distillery to do another pop-up. Guy
Rehorst is absolutely amazing, and we started doing these pop-ups.
It really started as a silly conversation that then turned into a
hobby, and now itís a full-blown company.
Schiff: Itís taken on a life of its own. We work
really well together. George is an amazing administrator of getting
things done, and Iím the ideas girl. Work has to be fun. And this
bacon thing, we love what weíre doing. Bacon is the light of my
life. It is the baby before the baby comes.
Schiff: Down the road, we might do a Tex-Mex kind of
bacon or bacon hot dogs. We toy around with different ideas.
Gaspar: Right now weíre just going to continue with
our pop-ups. Weíre looking at the potential for a brick and mortar
(location), and weíre looking at a couple of other options. We just
keep on keeping on,
feeding our customersí desire for bacon as we move
To find out when the next pop-up event is visit