Veteran-owned Sarge’s Gourmet serves up some savory sauces
The Perkasie man was medically discharged from the Army after being injured by a rocket blast while serving overseas with the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) out of Fort Dix.
After returning stateside, chronic migraines that resulted from traumatic brain injury sustained in the explosion made working difficult. But with the grit and persistence of a soldier, Roberts refused to let the repercussive effects of his injuries define him.
Instead, he decided to strike out on his own and found a business rooted in a passion that is practically as big a part of him as his patriotism: cooking up unique, delectable sauces.
From this proactive effort, Sarge’s Gourmet was born.
“For me, cooking is like artistic expression,” says Roberts. “It’s my way of creating something unique. It’s soothing, and beyond that, there is a real sense of accomplishment that comes with having an idea for a sauce, experimenting, and getting it right.”
Founded last November, Sarge’s Gourmet takes its name from Roberts’ sergeant rank in the Army.
The artisan saucemaker is one of the new local businesses participating in the Perkasie Farmers Market this season. Folks can stop by the market Saturday mornings through October to sample and buy the savory sauces that Roberts dreams up and cooks into reality.
Aptly named, Sarge’s Original is Roberts’ signature sauce. An all-purpose pepper spread with an ideal balance of tang and spice, the sauce is perfect on sandwiches, burgers, veggies, hot dogs, fries, and more.
“It’s replaced ketchup in our house,” says Roberts, who personally cooks the sauces in small batches using all-natural ingredients.
Another sauce close to Roberts’ heart is the Rannoch Highland Sauce. Inspired by Roberts’ predominantly Scottish heritage, the spread is a flavor-rich combination of red currants, raspberries, whisky, orange juice, shallots, spices and more.
Great on haggis, chicken, steak and fish, the sauce is “so versatile, I sometimes put a scoop of it on my ice cream,” says Roberts.
Other offerings include the Moroccan-inspired Kasbah Sauce, the Argentinian-influenced El Lobizon Chimichurri Sauce, and the Caribbean-flavored Calypso Island Sauce.
Interestingly, Roberts says that deployments abroad influenced his desire to make sauces that burst with flavors from around the world.
“I haven’t done an Iraqi or Afghan sauce yet, but being over there really opened me up to trying different cuisines and flavors,” says Roberts, who served eight years in the Army, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to the Perkasie Farmers Market, Roberts’ sauces can be purchased at his website, www.sarges-gourmet.myshopify.com, and at the Down To Earth Café (www.thedowntoearthcafe.com/) – a Perkasie eatery where Roberts rents off-hours kitchen space to cook up his creations.
While Roberts delights in the creativity of the culinary process, it’s only part of the joy of hand-crafting delicious spreads. For Roberts, the fulfillment is complete when people enjoy the sauces he has concocted with love.
“Seeing people’s faces when they taste a sample – that’s what makes my day.”
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