West Bloomfield woman creates Drench salad dressing using natural ingredients

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A love of cooking and bringing satisfied smiles to family and friends has now grown into a booming business for one West Bloomfield woman.

Karen Akouri of West Bloomfield got her idea about five years ago when she was grocery shopping and began reading the labels of salad dressings. 

"One I found was titanium dioxide. I was like what is that? I Googled it and I was like, what is titanium dioxide? And they said it was a whitening agent for paint and used in industrial manufacturing. I was like, that's awful, why is this in our food?" she said. Then she kept noticing other different toxic chemical she couldn't pronounce on other bottles. 

"It didn't make sense. Here I am making a healthy salad and pouring all of these chemicals on it." Karen, a mother of three who was concerned about what her family was eating, decided to create her own.

Making her own dressing became an eye-opening experience for Karen, learning many salad dressings use soybean or canola oil and other ingredients that are GMO, highly inflammatory and filled with allergens. 

After countless days and nights of researching and measuring, using simple products you can pronounce and find in your own kitchen, Karen was ready to unveil her two new dressings -- citrus honey and Mediterranean lemon. She just needed a name.

Karen pitched Drench, used for everything from salad dressing to marinades, to a local market.

"It's because I love drenching my salads with dressing," she said.

She immediately had fans. Friends encouraged her to bottle it and sell it. 

"It was me in the beginning. I said let me just try Plum Market. I went in with a mason jar and walked in, 'Can I speak to the buyer?' She was wonderful and give me a chance," she said. They did, and the rest is history. 

Drench, which is manufactured in Detroit, launched last fall and stores can't keep her delicious dressings on the shelves. Foodies can find Drench at multiple markets in Michigan, Chicago and even on Amazon. 

"It's crazy. I went to school for accounting. I was a CPA 5 years and a CIA-certified internal auditor, so I found this happened to be my passion. That's what I suggest to any young entrepreneur - follow your passion. I know it is cliche. If you love it won't be work," she said.

Karen says she still encourages people to make their own dressings, but if not it's nice to have a bottle that is homemade of ingredients you can pronounce.

"I am very proud of something I never thought in a million years I would be doing."

You can find her salad recipe's and other information on her website here