You may have seen the “Pink Sauce” headline on your social feeds in the past week. Maybe you skipped it but now it’s hard to escape. The pink sauce situation is real and Chef Carly Pii takes it very, very personally.
But after going viral on TikTok and drawing a mountain of criticism, her $20 pink sauce has already sold out.
“You really just have to give me a break. You guys have to stop this negativity,” the chef said Thursday in a YouTube video that lasted nearly 52 minutes. “I have to get rid of this stuff. I can’t let you bury me spiritually.”
The product launch was not without its beginner-level issues, and these were compounded by the product’s virality. Pink Sauce, which private chef Pii said she had previously served to private customers, went on sale July 1 for $20 a bottle. Before that it was just a giveaway.
“I’ve been using it for a year and serving it to my customers — nobody’s ever gotten sick,” Pii recently told the Washington Post.
While Pink Sauce fans remain on their guns, others — many of them on TikTok — are heaping with complaints and concerns about the product.
If you’re late to the controversy, here are answers to a few questions about Pink Sauce.
Who is the creator of Pink Sauce @chefpii?
Chef Pii – pronounced “pea” – is a private chef in Miami. She has been in the cooking business for four years, she said in the YouTube video. And she’s not letting the controversy surrounding her viral product get her down. By the way, Chef Pii is her TikTok username, not her real name. The single mother of two boys told NBC show Today that she didn’t want to reveal her real name to protect her privacy. She introduces herself as Carly Pii on YouTube, where her account goes by that name.
A month ago, the 29-year-old said she had around 800 followers on TikTok. Now she has more than 142,000 followers with 4 million likes on her posts. Her videos regularly get more than a million views. “This is a small business, y’all,” she said on TikTok. “This is a small company that’s growing very, very quickly.” In addition to the sauce business, Chef Pii offers private sit-down dining, including “mixology service,” as well as catering for 50 or more people, according to its Flavor Crazy website .
What are the ingredients of Pink Sauce?
The Pink Sauce website lists the condiment’s main ingredients as honey, chili, garlic, sunflower seed oil, and dragon fruit — also known as pitaya. The product’s early label had a more complete list: water, sunflower seed oil, raw honey, distilled vinegar, garlic, pitaya, Himalayan pink sea salt, and less than 2% dried spices, lemon juice, milk, and citric acid.
Since then, Pii said on YouTube, “milk” has been changed to “dried milk.” Also, there is now a reference to chilling the sauce.
How did you come up with the idea of using dragon fruit?
Pii suffers from – or used to suffer from – anxiety. Dragon fruit was part of their solution.
“Dragon fruit is high in magnesium, which has helped with my anxiety,” she said on YouTube. “That’s my personal story, and that’s why I love dragon fruit.” She describes its subtle, sweet flavor and distinct, “dense” color as similar to the coloring in beets.
Why does the color of the sauce keep changing?
In countless pictures around the web, Pink Sauce’s color can be seen in everything from bright fuchsia to Pepto-Bismol.
Which brings us back to this description of the dragon fruit color resembling turnip. It turns out that dragon fruit has a beet-like effect on the human digestive tract: it turns feces red. For example, Pii said on YouTube that she adjusted the color down from the vibrant hue seen in early TikToks in response to customer comments.
Why should people worry about food poisoning?
Apparently some bottles of Pink Sauce were sent in bags instead of boxes and arrived damaged. People also noted that the ingredients contained milk, but the bottles didn’t ship with any sort of refrigeration or indication that they were meant to be refrigerated.
“You guys are selling people lazy sauce in the summer heat,” TikTok user Misha Curiel said in a video last week criticizing Pink Sauce. This video has been viewed more than 830,000 times and shows the power of the #pinksauce trend.
Most of Curiel’s remaining dozen videos have garnered fewer than 6,000 views, but she returned to six-figure views with a follow-up post detailing baseless allegations about the sauce.
Wait, how many servings are in a pack?
Early nutritional labels on the Pink Sauce claimed there were 444 servings per pack, which would make for quite a gargantuan pack considering the correct amount of a serving is listed as 1 tablespoon, or 14.4 grams.
It turns out that each pack contains 444 grams of sauce. Unfortunately, this number was written in the wrong place on the label. And vinegar was misspelled as “Vingar” in the ingredients list. Both were simple mistakes.
“If you do the math, you’ll see that we clearly accidentally made a typo,” Pii said on YouTube. “The graphic designer clearly made a typo and put the grams in the portions. Now you judge a prototype. Let’s start there. You judge a prototype. A prototype is when a product is not an official product. The Pink Sauce has only been an official product since July 1st.”
What does Pii do to handle complaints?
She said she sent blasts of emails to people who ordered the sauce, offering either new products or refunds. She has also posted explanatory videos on YouTube and TikTok. She said in a video that she “didn’t have many refund requests.”
Pii also emphasized in a video that the sauce is now made in a facility approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that meets FDA standards. “We’re currently in lab testing,” she said. “Once we’ve gone through the lab tests, we can approach the stores.”
Is Pink Sauce FDA Approved?
The chef got a little heated after an Instagram Live session where she appeared unaware that the “F” in FDA stands for food. “What do you mean ‘FDA approved’?” she said vehemently in response to a question. “I do not sell medical products. The Pink Sauce is not a medicinal product. The pink sauce does nothing for your health.”
But Pii made sense: While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves drugs and some medical devices before they’re released to the public, as well as certain ingredients before they can be used in foods, it doesn’t have pre-market approvals for food products, according to it the FDA website. However, it has the ability to regulate food when safety issues arise. The fact that Pink Sauce isn’t “FDA approved” at this point means pretty much nothing.
So how does pink sauce taste?
Apparently it tastes a little like ranch dressing. But controversy erupted online after Pii said she doesn’t describe how it tastes because she could not describe how it tastes. Some people accused her of being mysterious just because she tried to overdo the product.
But in a TikTok, she described pink sauce as “sweet, hot and tangy” and recommended adding it to everything.
“Yes, this sauce is extremely controversial, but for my curious, artistic folks who are actually into the pink sauce craze, I like you all. Thank you all,” the chef said in another TikTok last week. “And the haters don’t take my light away.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-07-27/pink-sauce-controversy-chef-pii-tiktok Confused by TikTok’s Pink Sauce controversy? Let us explain