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March 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

French Alum Puts Creamy Vodka Parmesan Sauce on the Map

Ohio University alum Jonathan Milo Leal has taken advantage of the local business incubator to create an international product line and, as Messenger editor Joe Higgins writes, the Messenger’s Product of the Month for March—Creamy Vodka Parmesan sauce.

Leal earned a B.S. in Education, majoring in French, followed by an M.A. in French from the College of Arts & Sciences. His third OHIO degree was an MBA.

Vino de Milo sauces

Vino de Milo sauces

“The Creamy Vodka Parmesan sauce is made from vodka from Fifth Element and cream from Snowville Creamery, both local companies. It is part of a line of a wide variety of pasta sauces made by Vino de Milo,” Higgins says in a story titled “Put the wine in the sauces and shake ’em all up.”

Leal moved to Athens in 1995 to attend Ohio University. He earned three degrees during his attempt to “avoid getting a real job.” Cooking was always a hobby he had enjoyed, and he found he was pretty good at making sauces.

Jonathan Milo Leal

Jonathan Milo Leal

He did some cooking and catering on the side and people started talking about his sauces. It was suggested that he start bottling the product and sell it.

“How hard could that be?,” Leal mused.

“Famous last words,” he joked.

Leal joined up with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) and there he found a place to cook on a larger scale and try new recipes. It was the suggestion of adding wine to the sauces that really hit it big for the new business which was then dubbed Vino de Milo….

Leal said that like many new small businesses, it was a struggle at the beginning but through incredible persistence, the company now produces 45 products — including salad dressings, sauces, bruschetta toppings and fruit preserves. Vino de Milo also makes products for other companies, is sold internationally and is looking to continue a staggering recent growth rate that has been steady at 30 percent per year.

Read the entire story in the Messenger.

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