Jane Rabay firmly believes in the old saying “You are what you eat,” and as a breast cancer survivor she probably takes that adage more seriously than most.
Luckily for Rabay, she’s also an unabashed foodie who knows her way around the kitchen. More specifically, she knows what she’s doing when it comes to garlic spreads, enough to have developed a nice little business selling gourmet garlic spreads of her own creation.
“I’ve been making this for a little over 20 years,” Rabay said.
Rabay, who lives in Sammamish, started out making spreads for her own use. She wanted something healthy, fresh and unique and decided that the best way to get it was to make it herself.
Friends would try her spreads and marvel at the taste. Her husband suggested that it was good enough to bring to market. Rabay figured why not, and in 1999 put together a business plan and figured on selling 12,000 jars under the Chez Jane label.
“Sure enough, the first year we sold 12,350 jars,” Rabay said.
Rabay’s spreads are sold at local markets, wineries, and, until the economy went south, were available in some local stores. She’s branched out to having eight flavors, too, all of them uniquely home made and friend-approved.
“Most of my friends have become my test marketers,” Rabay said.
Nowadays you can find Rabay’s spread for sale at local farmer’s markets like the , street fairs, and at an upcoming market at Eastlake High School. You can also order online through her website.
Rabay’s spreads have come a long way from the family kitchen.
“Now we have a following,” Rabay said.
Rabay said that she sells between 15,000 and 20,000 jars a year. The business is no longer big enough to support her—she had to take a day job with a telecom company in Bellevue—but she would never give it up.
“This is my passion,” Rabay said.
It’s more than just a passion, though. For Rabay it is also a weapon in the fight against cancer, a disease she survived, but one that her husband did not, having succumbed to cancer in May of this year.
Wanting to bring the pain and despair of cancer to an end, Rabay donates proceeds from the sale of her spreads to cancer research, and she will continue to do so until a cure has been found. She urges others to do so as well.
“We don’t know if it will be your dollar or my dollar that breaks the cycle,” Rabay said.
To order from Chez Jane, to learn a bit more about the company, or to pick up a few new recipes, visit Chez Jane’s website.