Steve Seikel’s condiment search led him to manufacture a made-in-Oklahoma product.
Tulsan Steve Seikel with his Oklahoma Gold Old Style Mustard. The product is stocked at various Tulsa locations, including Whole Foods Market, where Seikel is pictured.
Some foods simply don’t get the attention they deserve. Mustard, for example, is a ubiquitous condiment that is rarely given a second thought. But one Tulsan’s quest for superior mustard has turned into big business.
Steve Seikel, creator of Seikel’s Oklahoma Gold Old Style Mustard, could never find mustard that suited his taste.
“I tried many different kinds of mustard, but they always had corn syrup in them or they weren’t hot enough or they had a weird consistency,” he says. “So, I tried making my own.”
The result was a no-nonsense mustard that is “a little sweet, a little hot and a lot of good.”
“I just wanted to make something delicious for myself,” Seikel says. “But I’m amazed at how many people love mustard. Everyone I talk to — it’s, like, their favorite thing.”
Freshly ground mustard seeds are the secret to his mustard’s signature heat and warm yellow hue. Most importantly, it is all natural and gluten-free, with no thickeners or corn syrup and no dyes, “so there are no dietary barriers to your mustard enthusiasm,” he says.
Seikel’s passion for great food runs in the family. His father, Paul Seikel, has been a restaurateur for 40 years, most well known as owner and operator of the Pearl Restaurant Group in Oklahoma City.
“I’ve never been in the restaurant business myself, but I am an avid home kitchen chef,” Seikel says. “I’ve been making my own condiments for a long time.”
What started simply as a search for exceptional mustard took on new life when Seikel decided to return to school. He had worked for Cherokee Nation Health Care for five years as a special projects officer when he left his career in hospital administration to pursue his MBA. This decision transformed a long-time hobby into a full-blown school project.
“The mustard business actually paired well with getting the degree,” Seikel says.
He took the old-style mustard recipe he created to Backwoods Food Manufacturing Inc. in Tahlequah to reproduce. And they nailed it.
“Sometimes an at-home recipe doesn’t translate well to being mass produced,” Seikel says. “Ingredients that are available to home chefs aren’t available for industrial use.
But they got it right on the first try. I ordered 20 cases to start and they were gone in one week.”
Now that he could get his signature mustard produced on a large scale, the next step was to get the mustard to the masses.
“I didn’t want to be the mustard delivery guy, so I started working with restaurant distributors like Ben E. Keith,” Seikel says.
His mustard quickly began appearing on menus in many of Tulsa’s restaurants, including The Tavern, R Bar and Maxxwell’s. Recently the mustard’s popularity has spread beyond Oklahoma borders.
“The mustard is distributed in Kansas, Missouri and Texas,” Seikel says, “although I’m not sure how much Texas is going to like it with a name like ‘Oklahoma Gold.’”
Encouraged by glowing endorsements from restaurants, Seikel’s next step was to make his product available to other at-home mustard fanatics like himself.
“I just walked into the Reasor’s corporate office one day and left my information,” Seikel says. “They called the next day. The whole process has gone so fast, and everyone I’ve worked with has been so nice. It’s been pretty amazing.”
Seikel’s mustards are now on shelves in all Reasor’s grocery stores, and at Whole Foods and Sprouts in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. There are also more than 20 specialty shops that carry it, such as Ida Red and LaDonna’s in Tulsa.
Visit www.okmustard.com for a full list of retailers. The website also features mustard-centric recipes, including barbecue sauce, coleslaw and even honey-mustard ice cream.