Chef Laura Romito created High 5 Salts to up the ante when it comes to flavor profiles in food.
Photo courtesy of Chef Laura Romito
*This four-part series highlights four runners-up, female-owned food and beverage businesses that competed in a Samuel Adams’ pitch competition in October in Detroit. These are their stories, and this is how you can support them. This is the finale in the series.
Chef Laura Romito doesn’t play when it comes to her food.
As the creator of High 5 Salts with Benefits, a line of organic salt blends hand-made in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, she brings a certain level of flavor to everyday dishes. You can call her the Midwest Salt Bae.
“I have always been passionate about great tasting food, and properly balanced seasoning is the best way to make that happen,” Romito told the Michigan Chronicle. “I have also always been a teacher, and I love sharing the professional cook’s ‘secrets’ I’ve learned to help home cooks.”
Romito, who graduated from the Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts program, has carved a name out for herself and her local business that pours out the tasty with the unique seasoning profiles she created for various foods.
“I’ve worked in the food industry for nearly 25 years, and my favorite part is sharing what I’ve learned,” she said.
Romito is the chef and “Head Food Geek” at Food Geek Foods based in Eastern Market, according to her website. That’s just one of the hats she wears. She also works as a recipe developer and consultant (conSALTunt) for several local food entrepreneurs, restaurants and catering businesses.
“For the last three years, I have facilitated workshops for new food entrepreneurs through Eastern Market’s Detroit Kitchen Connect program. I love helping new food businesses get started.”
The term “High 5” has multiple definitions, which, firstly, draws from the tongue’s five taste areas: sweet, tart, salty, bitter and savory. Secondly, the definition comes from how the salt blends are meant to be sprinkled from above one’s food. Lastly, it’s a play on the five different types of High 5 line, which include:
- Original Unboring Salt
- Power Lifter Bold Course Salt
- Sweet Sass Sugar Blend
- Tickled Pink Himalayan Salt
- Fixer Upper Salt-Free Blend
Her seasonings were on display recently during a Shark Tank-style pitching competition for women-owned food and beverage companies in mid-October at Marrow in Detroit.
SheChef, Inc., a local, Black-owned professional networking organization for women chefs, and the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program featured the emerging Detroit food and beverage brands, which pitched their business ideas to a panel of five expert judges.
Romito pitched to the curious judges about the need to grow her Detroit business with bolder design and packaging options, branding and more.
During the competition, four businesses had two minutes to pitch their products and business ideas to the judges, who then asked questions and provided feedback. The runners-up received $1,000.
“I feel I have confirmation that I have a unique, high-quality product. Now I just need to focus on promoting the two top-sellers nationwide,” she said, adding that now that she has gone through the pitching process, she is ready to expand in feasible ways. “The financial support from Sam Adams has allowed me to move ahead with some new packaging materials. I also now have a more focused understanding of what it will take to grow and expand.”
The judges gave feedback on everything from upping her social media presence to thinking of switching up some of her product offers. Jasmine Haskins, the owner of Detroit-based Gajiza Dumplins, won the competition and $10,000; she discussed her ideas to expand and grow her pop-up shop that secures pre-orders.
Romito said that what keeps her going is that she likes to help other people make better tasting food.
“That makes me happy because I believe feeding people well is a gift. So, the more people who use High 5 Salts, the more people I’ve been able to share the gift with,” she said.
For more information on High Five visit https://foodgeekfoods.com/.