Veronica Shawpopularly known as Chef Pii and the inventor of the viral Pink Sauce, claims she is financially ruined and unable to properly care for her children due to a failed business deal.
“I am a single mother and I do everything for my children. Right now I don't even have enough money to buy food for my kids myself,” she wrote on a website GoFundMe Page, hoping to hit a $100,000 goal.
Shaw became something of an overnight sensation in 2022 when her unique condiment made a splash on social media. She tried to fill thousands of orders with a staff of three as demand for the then-dairy-based sauce grew out of control.
Due to her inexperience in making food, the Florida-based chef faced criticism when customers received rancid spice bottles and crushed containers. Questions about food safety increased exponentially when, during a live chat with her followers, she inadvertently admitted that her product was not regulated by the FDA.
Dave's Gourmet, a specialty food company and retailer with 30 years of experience in the industry, stepped in. As Shaw's popularity seemed to wane, the company hoped “to help a budding foodie and entrepreneur as an industry expert,” company president David Neuman told Rolling Stone in January.
“Obviously she needed to commercialize her product idea and didn't have the experience to make it happen as quickly as her followers demanded,” Neuman added.
Five months after the deal was signed, Pink Sauce was relaunched at 4,300 Walmart locations as a product that boasts being gluten-free and vegan. It used to be $20 and shipped direct from Shaw, now it's $7.78 in-store and $9.99 on the Dave's Gourmet website. Apart from customer comments about the different colors, everything seemed fine.
But Shaw claims she's being denied royalties. “I made a few mistakes along the way. Which made me trust a company that tries to take everything away from me. you lied to me They are not paying me and are not transparent about the records,” she said in her urgent request for financial assistance.
The entrepreneur went on to claim that the hot sauce and pasta sauce retailer refused to reimburse her for marketing costs, leaving her feeling “silenced and financially sabotage”. “I am currently facing an eviction that is defaulted. The sheriffs can be at my door any day now. I need legal help,” she wrote in her plea.
Shaw and her children made ends meet on $20 a day with help from their disabled mother, she said. The status of her partnership with Dave's Gourmet is unclear, but Shaw continues to promote the condiment on social platforms.