Julen Ucar founded Julen’s Ausome Sauce, but at his small, family-run company, he’s known as the “chief sauce officer.”
The name “ausome” is a play on the words autistic and awesome. Ucar, 20, of Huntington Beach, is both.
Julen’s Awesome Sauce is used daily at Ways & Means Oyster House in Huntington Beach's Pacific City. One dollar from the sales of dishes that use the sauce benefits a group of Ucar's choice, including the New Vista School, which specializes in teaching students with autism. Ucar attended the Laguna Hills school for several years before graduating from Fountain Valley High School.
Julen’s Ausome Sauce comes in two FDA-approved, locally made, preservative-free flavors: Off the Charts and Non-Verbal Herbal.
The former is “appropriately spicy,” the company says, and good on meats. Ingredients include soy sauce, ketchup, salt, spice, brown sugar and dried red chili flakes.
The latter is “too good for words,” according to its bottle description. Ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, dried basil and oregano, garlic powder and salt.
Non-Verbal Herbal was inspired by Ucar’s love of salads. He used to avoid using his mom’s salad dressing in favor of his own, which used a vinegar from Spain.
It took dozens of tries to get them right. Lots of trial and error.
“I love coming up with different recipes,” he said.
His mother, Michelle Ucar, added, “He loves to eat, that’s for sure!”
Michelle told me that her son, who’s now studying culinary arts at Orange Coast College, always seemed to have a knack for finding the right flavor. At home, they had get-togethers, where they would cut chicken and a variety of vegetables, then assemble every sauce and spice available in the kitchen.
Next came applying the right combination of those assorted sauces and spices before putting the creations on the grill. Their one rule: Everyone would have to try everyone else's finished dish.
Ucar always won.
“This was the beginning of our thought process for Julen's Ausome Sauce,” she said.
The company also sells a T-shirt that implores wearers to “Find Your Ausome” and a necklace with a square design and gemstone called "Outside the Box."
Ucar visits Ways & Means Oyster House weekly to make his sauces during the kitchen's prep time.
Jennifer Delcham, co-founder of Ways & Means, said after meeting Michelle at a local event, she soon became eager to aid their cause.
“I wanted to help give their story a larger audience and potentially raise more funds to help raise awareness about autism,” she said in an email. “Our partnership with Ausome Sauce is the ethos of Ways & Means, which is to create relationships in our own backyard. As we grow and expand that will remain one of our core values as a business, and when Julen spends time in our kitchen, it’s a reminder of why that's so important to us.”