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Meet The Maker - The Woman Behind Rockin' Rubs

Meet The Maker - The Woman Behind Rockin' Rubs

5 Minute Read
Rockin' Rubs are artisan-crafted seasonings of fresh herbs and spices made to enhance the flavor of your favorite meats or vegetables.
But who is the maker behind this tasty rub?
Meet Debra Bonnefin- the artisan sharing her unique recipe with the world. 
Debra Bonnefin Rockin Rubs Hood Kitchen myPanier

Why rubs? What drove you to your chosen craft?

Way back – 30+ years ago I was working full time and commuting in the Bay Area and needed a way to get food on the table quickly (but still with great taste and healthy) and found that having seasonings mixed up in advance made my life a lot easier. So I started out with Mediterranean Bliss. It wasn’t called that then but it was a work horse – I used it for everything. Then I started making Tuscan Temptation and keeping that made up in the house. It wasn’t until I started giving them as gifts to friends and family that I realized how much people really liked them. So for decades people were saying – you should sell these! I even had friends buying me spices to mix up batches for them. I finally got a chance to give it a try in 2014 and have been going strong ever since!


Rockin Rubs Spice Rub myPanier

Describe a typical day in your life. (work & non-work related!)

First thing in the morning is taking care of the dogs – getting them out and fed. And then of course having my breakfast – I never go without food! I also try not to ever miss my exercise classes – I have to stay strong to keep lifting all these heavy orders and ingredients. I check my emails next and get out online orders and orders from my wholesale accounts. Email takes up a lot of my time as does  setting up events and bookkeeping. There are usually about 10 balls up in the air that we’re juggling at any one time.

Going to The Hood Kitchen Space is my favorite part of my week/day to make product. I love this part of my job the most! I love the smells and feel of the spices, herbs and chilies.  We use a lot of freshly ground chilies and they are so beautiful and smell incredible! The Hood Kitchen Space is an exciting space to produce in – there are so many vendors and caterers there making amazing products.  I’m always amazed at the creativity. Some days I’m doing a demo at a store sampling my rubs to customers. That’s always fun because I get to meet my customers and hear what they’re doing with our rubs.  It’s always amazing to see the looks on people’s faces when they first taste our rubs. Sometimes I wish I had a video camera on their faces to record their reactions. It can be a lot of fun!

Development of a new seasoning is also a super wonderful part of my job although I do drive my family a little crazy having to try many, many variations of a seasoning until I get it just right. I will also have tasting parties where everyone gets a ballot and eats different variations on the same theme and gives me feedback on it. They not only tell me which one they like the best but also have to be willing to give feedback. It’s a lot of fun and keeps me from wearing out my family! LOL. Usually in the evening is when I post on social media but I also do it during breaks in the day. It feels like a job in and of itself .  .  . it’s actually a lot of work!


Rockin Rubs Spice Rub myPanier Debra Bonnefin


What does handmade or handcrafted mean to you?

To me it means exactly what it says – we’re making it ourselves. In a sense it’s the opposite of mass production so the term also implies small batches. And even if the vendor is using a co-packer that they are overseeing the production and is personally seeing that it is made with the highest standards.   It’s a very hands on model. For me it’s the part I really love doing which is why we don’t use a co-packer!  

Rockin Rubs Spice Rub myPanier

Who is your role model and why?

My dad had a huge influence on my love of food. It was always important to him and it was just a way of life for us. Our meals were something we took care to do properly and we always barbecued and always had a dessert with dinner. He was a food distributor for a big part of his life. Now that I am a food producer I so wish he was still around to ask questions and give me guidance on how to do all of what I’m doing now.

Mentor to me sounds like a formal relationship so I think of it more as who inspires you and helps you along the way.

Kendra Coggin from Pernicious Pickling Company has been an incredible informal mentor to me. I always say I want to be her when I grow up. She and Baron Conway are such hard, smart workers and she has always been willing to answer any of my questions and give me references and tips.  She has an incredible product and they have done incredibly great things with their business. I also look at Mary Jo at Valenza Chocolatier who inspires me to make a great product and do it well. She also has an awesome product (yes I’m a little addicted!) and she is also so smart about her business model and will not compromise her standards one iota!

And then there is Christie Frazier and Shelby Coffman who started and continue to expand The Hood Kitchen Space where I, Kendra and Mary Jo all make our products. They not only provide a great space for us to make our products but they support us by introducing us to people who will help grow our business. They have been incredible about supporting me and they jump in and help whenever I need it.

All of these women are kick-ass, doing great things and inspiring me while they do it!


Ready to give Rockin' Rubs a try?

 Rockin Rubs Spice Rub myPanier Hood Kitchen

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