Dorene Humason spent more than 20 years in the food industry as a buyer and sales representative. She worked hard and put in long hours and finally decided to put all that time, effort and her background in the culinary arts into her own company, Chef in Black. Her product was Jaden Chinese Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix—all natural and gluten free and could also be used as a stir fry seasoning or a marinade.
Dorene had been making her restaurant-quality salad mixes for years. Her family and friends often told her that they were better than anything on the market. She thought so too! By the time she appeared on Shark Tank, Dorene’s salad mixes were in 1300 stores. She needed an investment to expand distribution and to start a line of bottled dressings.
The sharks loved the salad mix, but not so much the food business. They were impressed that Dorene was very well versed in all aspects of the business, but they tried to dissuade her from taking off in other directions (e.g., bottled dressings) before her initial business was profitable.
Barbara offered Dorene a deal, contingent on waiting to go into bottled dressing. Dorene accepted, but the deal fell through after the show. Dorene insisted that she knew the food business; Barbara only knew real estate. All of the sharks were wrong about sticking with the dry mix.
For a while, business picked up due to her appearance on Shark Tank. Her dressings were in 2000 stores, and she was talking with Walmart. She diversified even more by selling clothing and kitchen accessories on her website. Her success was short-lived. Her former website is for sale, and there is no evidence of Chef in Black anywhere.
Chef in Black is no longer in business.