Home / About / Meet Zena

Meet Zena



Brimming with energy and creativity, a young Zena Krakowsky ventured from her Bay Area fine art school to the High Sierra, dreaming of becoming a ski bum. Instead, a strong lifelong connection to the world of fine food guided her into the restaurant business. Her culinary career began at the Comstock Creamery Ice Cream Shop at the Ponderosa Ranch. Later opening O’B’s Board, a mom-and-pop dinner house in Truckee, Zena helped shape the sleepy downtown into a bustling Historic District, including a painstaking seven-year rehabilitation of the Kruger-White House Victorian mansion. There, she developed and operated several businesses, including the acclaimed dining establishments C. B. White’s and Zena’s Bakery-Café and Catering.

Zena’s original culinary creations delighted legions of foodies far and wide. Even after selling, friends and former customers continued to request that Zena offer her wildly popular Sassy Almond-Sesame Sauce (SASS) and Sassy Peanut-Sesame Sauce (Peanut SASS) to the public; even providing her with empty salad dressing bottles to sterilize and fill. At first, Zena stirred her cauldrons of SASS in a small commercial kitchen, labeling the donated containers with hand-lettered masking tape. Swiftly she graduated to pallets of fresh bottles and labels printed on her computer, as SASS enjoyed steady word-of-mouth sales and fans of all ages…including children who suddenly enjoyed eating their veggies.

Attuned to growing health awareness, Zena carefully reformulated her vegan sauces to be gluten-free and low-glycemic, and added a “Hott!” version of each. Soon, the owner of a Santa Cruz-based natural grocery market chain expressed interest in SASS. Currently more than seventy fine food purveyors carry SASS, from Santa Barbara to Vancouver.

For many years, Zena attended the San Francisco Fancy Food Show as a restaurateur and caterer – then she desired to one day be on the ‘other side’ of the exhibit table. With the public’s enthusiastic embrace of SASS, and accelerated growth of her company, she took the leap to be an Exhibitor at the 2014 show; then again in 2015 and 2016, where her artisan sauces have met with—well—great suc-SASS!

As the accolades pour in, Zena continues to oversee production and distribution of Zena’s SASS, personally introducing her products to new audiences at fine stores and special events. Zena is in the process of creating delicious new versions of SASS, such as chocolate, coconut and ginger…coming soon to fine food markets near you.

Add SPARK to every meal with Zena’s SASS, the Ultimate ‘Go-To’ Sauce! 

Find a store on this interactive Map, click on this link or paste it into your browser: http://bit.ly/1hnIOe5

To contact Zena directly:   831-247-7733            Zena@ZenasSASS.com

For additional information about the C.B. White House, paste this link into your browser: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kruger_House_(Truckee,_California)

  • Jenny Parker


    I purchased a bottle of your sauce at the New Season store earlier today. I saw that the sauce is made in a facility that handles wheat. Do they share a line? Is the sauce safe for celiacs?


    • zzzenassass

      Thank you, Jenny, for reaching out. All my sauces are absolutely gluten-free. There are three parts to the answer: 1- The facility produces only one product at a time, and is completely cleaned before and after each batch. 2- I use only ingredients that are inherently gluten-free (and certified gluten-free). 3- Testing of the finished sauces shows <10 ppm. Also, in case you have any diabetic friends - - With a Glycemic Load of ~1, Zena's SASS is a wonderful enhancement to the Diabetic cuisine. Please feel free to comment or ask further questions. I can also be reached at Zena@ZenasSASS.com or 831-247-7733. Kindest regards, and happy dining – Zena