Janice Johnson is an evangelist for butter and garlic. She’s also a believer that you can accomplish anything you want in life, if you have a little help.
Johnson—aka The Garlic Boss—and her Sassy Sauce exploded onto the local culinary scene in 2019. A hairdresser by trade, she was driven to find career alternatives after a combination of health issues and the COVID-19 pandemic forced her out of the salon. With the help of volunteers from Legal Aid of Collier County, her “supercharged garlic butter sauce” became a business and a reality.
“I was always making the sauce for my family,” she says, “but I never expected the public would take it as seriously as they have. I started with one pot and a few dozen crabs, and I borrowed equipment from everyone I knew.”
As the concept took off, she found prep space in The Culinary Accelerator in Immokalee. Her sauce is now available at Wynn’s Market and is featured at local establishments such as Golden Rind Cheese and Wine in Fort Myers and Barnhill Seafood in Matlacha. She sells online as well.
Along the way, she has become aware of the positive benefits of garlic. “I never knew how healthy it was for the body,” she admits. “You wouldn’t believe all the fresh vegetables and herbs I pack into the recipe—once you try it, you’ll truly be lost in the sauce.”
Above all, she’s a cheerleader for Collier County. And as someone who suffers from both diabetes and lupus, she knows that people can’t define themselves by their illnesses. “I want to show the world the incredible people that come from Immokalee, and I want to motivate them to overcome their problems. My motto is: You can and you will if you try.”